Fiscal Cliff: VA Likely to See Collateral Damage

December 11, 2012 | Terry Howell

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Gen. Eric Shinseki, recently shared his concern for the impact that sequestration (fiscal cliff) driven cuts will have on the Department of Veterans Affairs; this despite all the assurances that VA programs are exempted from the cuts.   (Read the full article on

Based on the current scenarios, most veterans would not see any immediate impact from the fiscal cliff related cuts. Programs like VA home loans, GI Bill, veteran pensions, disability compensation, memorial and burial benefits, and VA health care will not be cut. But, the ripple effect of reduced administrative resources and program cuts on the DoD side will likely cause an increase in claims backlogs. In addition, any reductions to tuition assistance and increased co-pays for TRICARE will put more pressure on VA programs and resources that offer similar or duplicate programs, like education and health care.

Gen. Shinseki’s concern is that the ripple effect of deep cuts in the DoD will make it more difficult for his department to serve the approximately 90,000 servicemembers that will be forced to separate from the military over the next five years. These future veterans will be impacted by administrative cuts on the DoD side of the process – mostly due to the electronic records hand-off and the implementation of the new transition assistance program known as Transition GPS, which includes resources from agencies like the Dept. of Labor, VA, DoD and the Small Business Administration. (Read the Sequestration FAQs for more details).

Let your elected officials know how you feel about the Fiscal Cliff.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.


  1. As an Independent, I would say it is time to make some wholesale changes to our Congressional representatives. The problem appears to be that that party philosophy is more important than working for the American public. If Grover Norquist can defeat any Republican politician because he would raise taxes, then we citizens should be able to get rid of any politician, regardless of party, for lack of quality work for "we the people".

  2. bill russell says:

    WOW– do i agree get rid of all of them every few years and strat fresh

  3. Dick Lancaster says:

    The VA will release all of the Priority 7s and 8s but illiterate Obama supporters will still get their free cell phone minutes.

  4. the only way to get rid of congress as we know it, is to set term limits.
    and i dont think congress would vote for that.


    • You hit thr nail on the head, but forgot to add cut out all the foreign aid. Charity begins at home and we have plenty of people needing assistance in the us.

  6. John Sakowich says:

    We need to kick out everyone from obama down. Our government today is a total joke. They all are only for one thing themselves

    • Get rid of President Obama and put in someone like Romney! Are you serious – you poor sucker probably don't have a dime and deserve to have the Republicans setting policy. President Obama is trying to care for the middle class, or what is left of it. Since I make 6 figures, I find you to be ignorant of what is happening to our society – we have increase to over 42 million poor people in America, and you are probably one of them.

      • No one said Romney was the answer. He's obviously not. If you think O is trying to help the middle class you're just buying into the rhetoric. There are things happening on a global scale that will affect us all, and the middle class is only in the way of the big picture. If O does something great that will strengthen and build up the middle class Americans then I'll gladly eat my words.

  7. seems to me a national referendum whereby WE pass the law by vote to set term limits AND to force congressional reps to use the same healthcare and laws that we are forced to follow

    • SUCH A REFERENDUM EXISTS. Its in the Constitution. A state calls for a "state convention" and with enough states signing on to the call the delegates may propose as many changes as they see need changing. Georgia called for an amendment once and it was handled the regular way and it became the 11th Amendment. In 1964, the Gov Sanders of GA tried to get a state convention together over unit voting and failed to get the number to start the convention. Its power is its called by states, voted on by states, and it can be added as amendments to Constitution bypassing those in Washington. Imagine: term limits, requiring lawmakers to live under the laws they pass, etc., etc.

    • Chrisj1968,

      We have a much better Health Care Plan than Congressmen or should I say All Federal Workers.

  8. Timothy Elzy says:

    I think we have a President in office that truly cares about all Americans. Regardless what party you stand for it time to bridge America together. It sad to have educated leaders in office who can’t or refuse to work together. They should be held accountable for their actions.

    • I would ask that you spend a little time to watch "2016." That might make your "thinking" a little more educated. I'm afraid he is concerned for himself and his "personal" philosophies, which do NOT align with our Constitution. On the other hand, you are correct in that we need true leaders who aren't just talkers! True leaders earn respect, and we have a president who is Not respected by greater America, nor by others in the "free" world..

    • Hey, Timmy….open ur misty mistaken eyes and pay attention to what is really happening in America!!!!! There is no bringing America together; the current Socialist administration thrives on class conflict, private wealth distribution and government control….although the powers of the president are very limited by our (may not be ur) Constitution, Obama bin Lyin has bypassed the US Constitution repeatedly in his advance of a Socialist/Communist agenda for our once great Democracy….However, I do agree with ur statement that "they should be held accountable for their actions"…..Starting at the top, cut the head off the snake and the body of cronies and thugs and gangstas retreat into oblivion….never to be brought back to power by a wiser and more attention-prone American citizenry…..

    • Timothy Elzy,

      At first read I agree with you, but after thinking about it, we have 2 Parties with 2 different opinions, beliefs, convictions, feelings, minds, persuasions, sentiments, views, etc., so which party should be the one to start giving away those opinions, etc., that make each party what they are, stand for?????

      • It's called doing their job regardless of party. Concessions on both sides AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

        • idmedic,

          So answer the question!!!!, even better, post that letter you sent to Congress. LOL

          We have 2 Parties with 2 different opinions, beliefs, convictions, feelings, minds, persuasions, sentiments, views, etc., so which party should be the one to start giving away those opinions, etc., that make each party what they are, stand for?????

          • Ok I feel YOUR retirement should be given to the CON-gressmen…lmao. YOU DIDN't earn it or PAY for it. That's my solution……..haaaahaaa. That would be 4 letters Charles compared to your ZEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOO. I forgot another recently to McCain …lmao

          • idmedic,

            Well then, go ahead and let them know how you feel about my check. LOL

            Oh, I never said I didn't earn it, what I said was, I never paid into it.

          • How can you get something you didn't pay for Charles.

          • idmedic,

            Because DOD doesn't require anyone to pay out of pocket for their future check. Hello

          • Free? Another 47%er huh? Guess your a welfare queen?

    • Representatives are held accountable, more closely than a President or Senator, every two years when you elect the one that Represents you in your District. Republicans haven't not been in control of either Senate or House very much over the past 100 years so social programs that spend without bringing in money that is safe is not part of that. Those same members of the House and Senate have pillaged the Social Security dollars for decades knowing that the babyboomers were eventually going to get to that age. They even changed the age to 67 but that didn't stop the Congress and President from pillaging, with delight. Those elected officials knew they would not be around when payment came due.

    • SPemberton says:

    I just created a petition entitled Bank Of America: Cancel the Foreclosure on Veteran Richard Barwick.

    I'm trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your help.

    To read more about what I'm trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:

    It'll just take a minute!

    Once you're done, please ask your Veteran friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!


  10. Fredrick Setser says:

    A large part of our citizens want things and think the tax payers owe them. I know several members of a family that are on disability, food stamps and MEDICADE.
    Their daughter has a child over one year old and the tax payer foots the bill for the mother, care for the child and pay her to go top school..
    The tax payer pays for social workers and other support personnel.
    I haven't even touched the tip of this growing problem – and they , the government, threaten veterans that money may not be available to support their needs.

  11. Jeff Hughes says:

    I totally agree with you, However they should not get any retirerment or entitlements until they reach 64!

    • their retirement and entitlements should begin at the age they make social security and medicaid ages.

    • Jeff Hughes,

      That doesn't make any sense, unless lests say Social Security changes their rules also.

      Think about it, they pay into their retirement benefits, unlike the Military.

      • Yea think about it. We don't pay anything for our retirement? Come on Charles the country needs you. Send your money back. CON-gress needs money.

        • idmedic,

          No, I am happy with my retirement check, tell me again why I should send it back.

          You are the one that continues to complain about it, you are the one that needs to send your retirement check back, not me. CON-gress needs money.


          • You didn't pay for it. Right?

          • idmedic,

            You are correct, I paid nothing into my retirement. Like everyone else, how much did you pay into your retirement. You know, how much came out of your paycheck that was put towards your military retirement check. I know you paid into Social Security, so again how much did you pay into your Military Retirement.

            I know, I know, the same amount as I did, NOTHING!

          • Then YOUR getting something for free Charles. Just like welfare. Your part of the 47%. Ohhh no surely they didn't mean military huh Charles?

          • idmedic,

            No, they aren't paying me to be retirered, but to be on standby. But then again, you should have already known this, LOL.

          • Ahhhhhhhh ok sooooooo then it's defined as???? So your not paying for it?

          • Ohhh so you ARE paying for it?? I'm so confused. Lmao

          • idmedic,

            Correct, I'm didn't pay into it, and all I do for that check is set at home, watch TV and wait on the Postman to deliver my check.

            I'm proud of my Military Service and have zero complaints with what I am recieving for my time spent in Service.

          • Lmao … are not doing anything exactly, a veteran you represent a career blogger. Have no job and speak as if your non-working status is the norm. A worthless piece O shit that speaks for himself. ONLY HIMSELF and "retiree" lmao. Get a JOB Charles!

    • mike douglas says:

      at 200,000.00 dollars a year they don't need any entitlements when they reach the retirement age

  12. John Sakowich,

    Like that is going to happen, and then if it did, you would a room full Privates on their first tour of duty in the service without knowing chit.

  13. jacquesdaspy says:

    The solution for the US is the North Korean perogative. Screw up the social order so badly that no one in their right mind would invade, lest they inherit the mess. The elimination of the Armed Forces, especially the Army (no more "boots" on the ground) and the commensurate elimination of most of the casualties, would enable the diversion of billions of dollars to more completely implement the welfare society seen as a solution for the great American decay in moral values.

  14. William clark says:

    Why don't they take a cut in retirement benifets like thy won't us thy are no better then we are the government Iam talking about. What are they doing for us nothing that's what thy can't even pass bills in Washington.Lest put their sorry ass out of office.

  15. William clark says:

    I would Love to see our gov. Take a cut in pay and bentifits . Thy set on their asses all day an can't pass bills. But thy can find ways to take money from our GIs. If thy can't work together why don't thy just step down an let some younger person come in so we can something done.

  16. The entire "Fiscal Cliff" is created by the politicians to excuse their not doing their jobs. We vote these idiots in time after time. We need to start voting intelligently and maybe get rid of both parties (who are both so entrenched in their own power that they don't give a crap about us). I am a libertarian and believe in term limits and researching those I vote for. We CAN get a government that works for the good of the citizens. We just have to have more then 30% of the citizens voting and we need for them to vote intelligently.