Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown in Effect: How will it affect Gulf War and other veterans?

The government shutdown went into effect at midnight because House Republicans insisted on including measures to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Below are some of the effects on veterans.  In a nutshell, the impact on most veterans will be minimal if Congress can pull itself together and do its job and pass appropriations legislation soon.  Claims processing of Board of Veterans Appeals has now ceased, and claims processors' overtime to reduce the claims backlog has also ended.  If the shutdown lasts into later in October, most if not all veterans benefits payments will also cease.  Healthcare services will continue, however.

Here's a quick Q&A on the government shutdown:  http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/politics/government-shutdown-up-to-speed/index.html




Appropriations Lapse Plan

The President, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the administration strongly believe that a lapse in appropriations should not have occurred on October 1, 2013, and Congress should act to fund critical Government operations. During the government shutdown, VA medical centers, clinics and other health services have advance appropriations for 2014 and will remain open. VA has funds available to ensure claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs will continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs will be suspended when funds are exhausted.
VA has produced a 2-page information sheet, the Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown, which summarizes all of the services that will be available and those that will be impacted by potential lapse in appropriations. This file will be updated as needed. The department’s detailed contingency plan is also available below.

Information for VA Employees

Behind every Veteran, wounded warrior, and family member receiving services, there is a family of VA employees dedicated to serving the community of Veterans. For those VA employees impacted by the Federal government shutdown, the information below will help you know what to expect during a furlough and what options you may have.


Important Information About the Federal Government Shutdown

Due to the Federal Government Shutdown, Social Security field offices are open with limited services. Hearings offices remain open to conduct hearings before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Social Security card centers are closed.
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments to beneficiaries will continue with no change in payment dates.
Due to Congressional inaction to prevent the Government shutdown, we will only provide the following services at Social Security field offices:
  1. Help you apply for benefits
  2. Assist you in requesting an appeal
  3. Change your address or direct deposit information
  4. Accept reports of death
  5. Verify or change your citizenship status
  6. Replace a lost or missing Social Security payment
  7. Issue a critical payment
  8. Change a representative payee
  9. Process a change in your living arrangement or income (SSI recipients only)
We cannot provide the following services:
  1. Issue new or replacement Social Security cards
  2. Replace your Medicare card
  3. Issue a proof of income letter
If your visit involves any Social Security-related service not listed above, we regret we are unable to assist you. We regret any inconvenience. Our Online Services will remain open.

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