More than 100k Virginians could lose benefits if government shutdown moves forward

The clock continues to tick down, for lawmakers to avoid a shutdown.
The clock continues to tick down, for lawmakers to avoid a shutdown.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The clock continues to tick for how long before a government shutdown could occur.

If there is no funding deal, more than 100,000 Virginians could feel the direct impact of putting food on the table.

“To be clear, Virginia’s food banks are in a tough position as it is already,” Eddie Oliver, Executive Director for the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, said.

With donations down about 25% and longer lines at food pantries, the possibility of a government shutdown means more uncertainty for people who rely on these services.

“We’re certainly there, and we will be through the government shutdown,” Oliver said. “We have 1100 partners throughout the state that are all welcoming if anyone needs food assistance, but the message is that if Congress had its act together, then we wouldn’t be worrying about this right now.”

If a shutdown happens, nearly 7 million moms and kids will lose access to WIC benefits within days.

Sarah Steely of No Kid Hungry Virginia said 127,000 will be affected here in Virginia.

“Having to make tough tradeoffs elsewhere, you know, choosing not to eat herself so that she can feed her child or choosing not to pay a medical bill or a light bill in order to put food on the table, and that is a choice that no family, no mom should have to make,” Steely said.

Steely also said SNAP benefits will be on the line if the shutdown goes beyond October.

“Congress must find a bipartisan solution to prevent this shutdown, but they shouldn’t do so on the backs of kids and families around the country struggling to make ends meet,” Steely said.

If there’s no deal, active-duty U.S. military service members and many TSA workers would remain on the job without pay, and federal workers could be furloughed.

“When families who are living paycheck to paycheck have to make these tough decisions, they are going to pay their rent or their mortgage, their car payment or their hospital bills first,” Oliver said. “They’re going to sacrifice food because that’s where they feel that they can cut back, so we see parents skipping meals so their children can eat, and it’s just a really tragic situation.”

Social security and disability checks will not be affected by a federal shutdown.

Congress has until midnight Saturday to reach a deal; if they don’t meet the deadline, this would be the first shutdown in 5 years.