Now it’s getting personal.
Because of the government shutdown, I may not be receiving my disability pension from the Veterans Administration this month.
For the record, I have a 10% disability from my service in the Army a few decades ago. My check each month isn’t much. I think it’s $128. As a person with an excellent job at Quicken Loans, this isn’t going to affect my financial situation. But that may not be the case for several million veterans who rely on their disability and pension benefits to survive. And that $128 came in very handy when I was in college many years ago. It paid my grocery bills (a lot of potatoes, onions, milk and eggs).
Today, NPR had a short article about the shutdown-related news for veterans and how it could affect several million Americans. Here’s a bit of the article:
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned lawmakers on Wednesday that the partial government shutdown means that about 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month.
Shinseki, in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said pensions to more than half a million vets or surviving spouses will also be derailed if the stalemate over a temporary spending measure drags on into late October.
The Associated Press reports:
“Shinseki drew comparisons to the last shutdown in 1996, a time of sustained peace. The current shutdown occurs as the war in Afghanistan is in its 13th year and as hundreds of thousands have returned from Iraq. They are enrolling in VA care at higher rates than previous generations of veterans.
“‘They, along with the veterans of every preceding generation, will be harmed if the shutdown continues,’ Shinseki said.”
Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the committee, questioned whether the administration had given accurate and complete information to veterans as to the full impact of the shutdown.
“We’ve had some difficulty in the last couple of weeks getting good information about VA’s contingency plan and the effects a lapse in appropriation would have on veterans,” he said.
Shinseki told the committee that the VA had planned for an orderly shutdown but that “unprecedented legal and programmatic questions” have arisen.
Our veterans deserve nothing less than the best. These men and women have put their lives on the line to protect this country. I really hope that this shutdown thing ends very soon so many of our vets can get their livelihood back.