UPDATE: I recently spoke to a congressional staff member who confirmed that military retirees and veterans receiving monthly GI Bill or comp and pen payments are already protected from the affects of a government closure.
The following is a brief unofficial response to the question of what impact a federal shutdown might have on veteran’s access to services, compensation and pension payments, and GI Bill benefits. The answers provided here are not official. Not only has the VA not released ‘official’ guidance on what affect a federal shutdown would have on their services, nobody is willing to offer any comments on the subject.
If the government closes for business on April 8, veterans may find some VA services unavailable. The unofficial word is that administrative support and claims processing will likely be the hardest hit. So far there has not been any indication of what would happen to VA health care and social services. It is safe to assume that most VA health care services would continue. But the question of what that means to veterans seeking medical services remains unanswered.
My VA sources tell me that they expect that automated benefit payments like Disability Compensation, Veterans Pensions, and GI Bill payments are likely to continue, but new and pending claims processing will probably be impacted by the reduction of administrative support.
Keep in mind that that the longest shutdown in the past 20 years was 21 days. The current deadline for passing a budget is April 8; we can hope that if a shutdown occurs, congress would be able to resolve their differences well before the May 1 pay date.
Unfortunately, the best advice continues to be to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Stay Tuned – We will continue to update if more information becomes available. But, in the mean time,please take a moment to let Congress and our government officials know how you feel about the budget impasse.