(AP) – North Carolina state government has suspended a welfare program for the unemployed because there was no guarantee the federal government would reimburse the state for keeping benefits going until the shutdown ends.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said starting Monday it directed county social service offices to no longer approve Work First applications. Renewing current Work First participants also has been suspended.

Julie Henry with DHHS says current Work First participants already have received October payments, so people could miss benefits if the shutdown extends into November.

Henry says the federal government sent a letter to the state saying they could continue making cash payments to Work First enrollees, but repayment was tentative.

Work First served 21,000 people in September and distributed almost $5 million.

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