For those veterans who have already contacted me, and those about to, I have provided a link to the VA’s Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown at http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Field_Guide_20130927.pdf.
Foremost, it is important to note that most services provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will remain unaffected by the federal government shutdown. This includes almost all services provided through the Veterans Health Care Administration (the nation’s largest health care provider), home loan processing, claim processing, and insurance. Additionally, veteran’s will continue to receive their disability compensation payments and related monetary awards.
In the near-term, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will not be issuing decisions, many of the VA contact telephone centers will be suspended, and Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act requests will not be processed. This should not have an impact for most veterans.
In the event of a prolonged shutdown, initial claim processing and disability/pension payments may — and I emphasis may — be affected. Everyone on both sides of the political arena are acutely aware that many disabled veterans rely on VA disability compensation benefits as their primary source of income, so I suspect that this issue will resolve itself even in the event of a long-term government shutdown.