The Times West Virginian

Local News

October 4, 2013

Some programs for veterans could be affected during government shutdown

FAIRMONT — While the Veterans Affairs health-care services budget is approved one year in advance, and therefore not in danger due to the government shutdown, other benefits and processing could slow down as they run out of funds, a VA statement said.

This will happen if the shutdown continues through the end of the month. These benefits include compensation, education, pension and vocational rehabilitation. The Veterans Benefits Administration has around 19,000 claims processors.

One major concern is processing for veteran disability claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a large backlog of these claims. The VA began overtime for claims processors to work through the backlog in May, and had decreased backlog by 30 percent. However, in a statement, the VA said that with the government shutdown, it will no longer be able to pay overtime for these processors, and the backlog will snowball again.

In addition, while funds are currently available for claims processing and payments in the education, pension, compensation and vocational rehabilitation programs, that funding is set to run out by late October. If the shutdown continues that long, claims processing and regular payments would be suspended, VA spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said.

 

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