The government shutdown has most likely affected everyone in some way or another, though most have not felt a direct impact. The VHA has continued to be open to meet the medical needs of our nation’s veterans. Besides a call center here or there that has closed, the shutdown is dangerously close to becoming very real for nearly 5.2 million veterans and their families.
So, will your VA check stop due to the shutdown?
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki testified last Wednesday before the House Veterans Affairs Committee that if the budget is not resolved by November 1st, monthly benefits checks to nearly 5.2 million veterans will not be dispensed. This would include 3.8 million veterans dependent on disability compensation, nearly 317,000 expecting pension benefits and those who proudly served their country in order to receive college tuition. All in all this amounts to $6 billion dollars that would not be paid out. While this does seem like a lot of money, it averages out to almost $1,154 for each recipient. Though that is not necessarily a lot, when you are dependent on that each month for basic necessities, you can imagine that people are going to panic when the check does not come.
Hope for Veterans During the Shutdown
There is hope, for it seems that shortchanging our veterans may be the one thing that gets politicians from both sides of the aisle to come together to avoid. Last week there was huge public outcry over the fact that the shutdown prevented a $100,000 death gratuity benefit from being paid to the families of five soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the shutdown started. Thankfully this atrocity ended when the House passed an emergency bill, followed by the Senate and then the President signed it. It is this type of public outcry in support of our fallen heroes and disabled veterans that hopefully will put pressure on Washington to act.
If you are not one of the 5.2 million veterans that are receiving benefits, or if you are but not satisfied with what you are receiving, please contact a veterans disability advocates at Veterans Help Group to see if we may be of service to you. You certainly did a service for us.