North Carolina is first state to cut welfare amid federal shutdown | Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/16/us-usa-fiscal-northcarolina-idUSBRE99F00Y20131016[10/17/2013 11:52:38 AM]
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North Carolina is first state to cut welfareamid federal shutdown
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By Marti Maguire
RALEIGH, North Carolina
| Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:38pm EDT
(Reuters) - North Carolina has become the firststate to cut off welfare benefits to poor residents inthe wake of the partial federal governmentshutdown, ordering a halt to processing November applications until a deal is reached to end thefederal standstill.
More than 20,000 people - most of them children - receive monthlybenefits aimed at helping them buy food and other basic supplies throughNorth Carolina's welfare program, called Work First, which is fully fundedby the federal government. Recipients must reapply each month.The state's Department of Health and Human Services told its local offices in a letter datedOctober 10 not to process applications for November benefits until the federal government reachesa deal to restore normal operations."We are heavily dependent on federal dollars," said Julie Henry, spokeswoman for the state HHSdepartment. "When these kinds of things happen at the federal level, it has an immediate impact."Other North Carolina programs funded through the federal Temporary Assistance for NeedyFamilies (TANF) grant also will be affected. That list includes childcare subsidies that cover morethan 70,000 children and have already ceased being distributed in some parts of the state.The federal agency that oversees TANF, the Office of the Administration for Children andFamilies, urged states to continue funding the program, saying in a letter that the states would bereimbursed unless Congress specifies otherwise.