Shutdown Hurting Veterans

If the federal government’s partial shutdown continues into late October, Veterans Affairs Department compensation in November for more than five million beneficiaries—including nearly 4 million military veterans—would halt, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told lawmakers on Wednesday. Further, “once mandatory funds are depleted at the end of this month, nearly 5,600 veterans a day will not receive a decision on their disability claims,” he said in testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Education benefits would also take a hit if the shutdown doesn’t end soon, he said. More than 10,000 VA employees are now on temporarily furlough due to the shutdown, said Shinseki during the Oct. 9 hearing. “It’s a shame that Washington’s dysfunction has led to the furloughs of thousands of dedicated VA employees and may jeopardize benefits for some veterans,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), HVAC chairman, in a statement. (Shinseki’s prepared testimony) (AFPS report by Donna Miles)