Current Events

Title:Government Shutdown Veteran Impact

Author:Ron Rutherford, TAOnline

Date:October 2013

Source:TAOnline.com

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 87

The longer the Federal Government shutdown lasts, the greater the impact it will have on benefits for Veterans and their families.

About 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation for November, if the shutdown continues into late October. Veteran Affairs Secretary, Eric Shinseki, updated the House Committee on Veterans Affairs late last week on the growing impact of the shutdown on veterans.

Also impacted would be more pension payments to more than 310,000 veterans and 202,000 surviving spouses. In addition, Shinseki says efforts to reduce the backlog of pending claims for longer than 125 days is now on hold until government funding is restored.

Shinseki told Congress that a piecemeal approach to restoring funding isn't the answer, because VA partners with so many other federal agencies to deliver veterans services.

He noted, for example, his department's work with the Labor Department to promote veterans jobs programs and with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to end veteran homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs produced an information sheet called the Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown. This information sheet can be downloaded from the internet and is updated as warranted.

Also, a more comprehensive document, the VA Contingency Plan can be accessed from the VA website (www.va.gov). However, the VA homepage and social media sites will only be updated intermittently.

Also, Regional VA Offices are shutdown, making it harder for veterans to get information about their benefits and claim status.

While active duty personnel remain on duty, the military has stopped providing tuition assistance for service members taking college courses during off-duty hours.

State workers who usually help Veterans find employment or training programs; found themselves unemployed last week, due to the shutdown.

More than 70 Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER) and Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists were furloughed early last week in Washington State. Other states, like Florida aren't laying off workers, just consolidating offices.

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