VA Secretary Shinseki Updates House Committee on Veterans Affairs on Government Shutdown Effects on Veterans Services
October 9, 2013, during a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HCVA) hearing on the affect of the partial federal government shutdown on veterans’ benefits, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki provided a dire warning if the shutdown continues.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been able to continue processing claims using funds from fiscal year 2013 during the first days of the shutdown, but those funds are no longer available. The lack of funds has led to delays for an average of 1,400 veterans a day. A greater challenge will occur if the shutdown continues into late October 2013, at which time “claims processing for veterans’ compensation, pensions, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits will be suspended due to lack of funding.”
Members of the Committee were mostly bipartisan in their concerns for veterans and the need to get the government open again. Both Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Ranking Member Michael Michaud (D-ME) commented on the desire for the Senate to pass the VA Appropriations bill that the House passed over four months ago, well before the shutdown, with Mr. Michaud also adding that a clean CR (Continuing Resolution) was an alternative that would again get benefits flowing to veterans and their families.
Read Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Statement for the record for the HCVA:The Effect of the Government Shutdown on VBA and Veterans Benefits (PDF format)
Veterans Service Organizations Call for Full Funding for VA Programs