October 2, 2013
The Virginia Department of Social Services told local departments around the commonwealth that no programs will be affected by the government shutdown for the next 30 days.
But the director for the Albemarle Co. Department of Social Services (DSS) says there is still a reason to be worried.
“As we get closer to the 30 days if there's no resolution at the federal level then the state office is going to have to take a look at that and it becomes a lot more serious at that point,” says Kathy Ralston.
DSS in Albemarle Co. helps with food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), child and adult protection, child care, employment services as well as adoption.
According to Albemarle County’s annual report for fiscal year 2012, people around the county in need of social services received 95 million dollars last year from federal and state funding.
“Certainly funding is technically shut off so if they don't fund these types of programs then yes we won't be able to process applications for Medicaid, food stamps, those types of things,” says Ralston. “There won't be money to pay for those types of things.”
That means that over 6,000 people in Albemarle Co. will not received funding for food stamps also known as SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and new cases will not be processed.
“Certainly our hope is that the federal government will not let that happen when you have a lot of vulnerable people depending on those programs,” says Ralston. “We're hopeful that that's not going to happen certainly. We will just have to wait and see.”