The government shutdown, now in its ninth day, has impacted government services and the Americans who rely on them to varying degrees. This week, members of Congress are wincing at the toll their dysfunction is taking on services for veterans and military families.
If the shutdown doesn't end soon, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department won't be able to ensure that checks go out on Nov. 1 for 5.18 million beneficiaries, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told House Veterans' Affairs Committee. That amounts to $6.25 billion in payments that VA beneficiaries are expecting.
Already the VA has furloughed more than 7,800 employees, Shinseki, half of whom are veterans. While the VA has in the last six months made progress on reducing its disability claims backlog, the shutdown has reversed that progress, with the number of backlogged claims increasing by 2,000 since Oct. 1.
"We've lost ground we fought hard to take," said Shinseki, who at multiple points in his testimony to Congress used military analogies to explain the challenges his department is facing.
The Republican-led House last week passed a bill to exempt the VA from the shutdown, but the Democratic-led Senate has rejected the House's piecemeal approach to restoring federal funding. Additionally, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., noted in Wednesday's hearing that the House back in June approved a VA funding bill.
Shinseki, however, noted that restoring funding for just the VA won't necessarily help clear...
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Government Shutdown: Day 9 - Government shutdown hitting veterans, military families hard
Workers' Compensation systems are generally integrated with Federal benefit systems, either/or for medical treatment or indemnity payments. Military disabilities are usually considered pre-existing disabilities in calculation of award estimates. Without a fully functioning VA benefit system, veterans are unable to obtain the complete benefits that they are entitled to received. Today's post is shared from cbs.org.
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