As the US government shutdown enters its third week, people in the US become increasingly concerned about the availability of food stamps and benefits. Local military personnel have already received letters saying their benefit checks are to stop very soon. In the meantime, the Military Coalition, a group of 33 veteran and military organizations, is planning a rally at the National World War II Memorial on Tuesday morning. The groups want to publicize the impact the shutdown is having on many vets and their families amid concerns of delayed disability pay, education stipends and other benefits.
Many veterans said they depend on the money to pay for basics, such as rent and food.
Disabled veteran Patricia Black said the government they served is now letting them down; “To have it taken away is just unfathomable,” she said.
Black signed up to serve her country in the Air Force. For four years, she was a surgical technician until a medical condition forced her to leave.
It didn’t take long for the VA to start giving her lifetime monthly disability payments, but now they’re gone.
“Out of anybody in this entire situation that doesn’t deserve to get screwed over it’s the veterans,” she said.
The federal shutdown means disabled vets like Black are not getting their disability checks and they don’t know how long it’ll take to get them back.
Black said she needs the money to pay rent and feed her family of four and she is now stuck in limbo while Congress hashes things out.
Meanwhile, the Military Coalition, a group of 33 veteran and military organizations, is planning a rally at the National World War II Memorial on Tuesday morning.
The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars are among the groups that will be represented. Steve Gonzalez, assistant director of the American Legion’s Economic Division, will be among the speakers emphasizing the impact on employment and training.
Veterans Affairs Secretary, Eric Shinseki, warned last week that financing vet benefits could become difficult if the impasse continues. Compensation checks to 5.1 million veterans won’t be issued on Nov. 1; 433,000 fully disabled veterans might not receive payments; and 360,000 surviving spouses and children of wartime veterans may stop getting VA money, Shinseki told a congressional oversight committee.
VA tuition and stipend payments to more than 500,000 veterans and spouses enrolled in college are also threatened. The VA has furloughed nearly 8,000 employees, he said.
Voice of Russia, USA Today, WFTV