How the Shutdown Affects VA Benefits

Veterans risk not getting their disability and pension benefits this next month if the federal government shutdown last several weeks. Keep in mind that these veterans already face a lengthy process in getting help.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said it has enough funds to process claims for pensions, compensations, and education programs through the end of this month, but a prolonged shutdown would suspend those programs once the money runs out.

And while veterans’ medical care is protected, some call centers have already been suspended under the budget impasse. All VA medical facilities and clinics will remain open during the shutdown, including the VA hospitals. In 2009, Congress passed a law to fund the VA one year in advance.

Bill Allman, a project analyst in Washington’s veterans benefit enhancement projects, said the federal manager of the PARIS system has been furloughed until a budget resolution can be reached between the White House and Congress. “This may drag on much longer than any of us predicted,” he said. “It really drives home the impact that the shutdown has on people’s lives, as well as the additional work that it creates for others.”