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Shutdown threatens veterans' care

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Since the recent government shutdown, millions of veterans nationwide have found themselves in peril of losing their benefits of which most importantly are theirlong term disability claims.

Recent media reports suggest that should the partial government shut down continue, approximately 3.8 million U.S. veterans will not receive disability coverage in November. It's possible that late October is the deadline many of these veterans face before their compensation in which over 300,000 veterans and 200,000 surviving spouses, as well as dependents, may be affected.

The processing of new claims have been delayed by 1,400 cases a day since the government closed its doors on October 1. In addition, existing claims have begun to pile up, some of which have been in limbo for over 125 days. In a wider sense of the shutdown's long-term effects, some claim that up to $6 billion in monthly disability payments could be halted.

"In some areas, like health care delivery, there are fewer adverse effects. In others, such as reducing the claims backlog, we have already seen a negative impact," said an official close to the matter stated in a written testimony.

Even as the House passed legislation to continue the provision of disability, pension and other benefits to veterans, particularly in lieu of a long-term government shutdown, the White House seems to have blocked the effort by insisting government not take a fractional approach to services as the Washington standoff continues.

Programs such as VETS, which is responsible for providing employment and counseling to veterans, has been completely shuttered. The Small Business Administration has been forced to cancel its program that assists veterans who want to create small businesses.

"Veterans, of course, are affected like other Americans by the government shutdown - more than 600,000 veterans are employed by the federal government, many others work for impacted federal contractors, or work for other businesses that are suffering from the shutdown," the written testimony went on to state.

No one knows exactly what will occur with the government shutdown or whether it will end soon. With that it's difficult to understand how it might affect your long-term care benefits. Given this, it would be wise to consult the proper legal authority just to see where you stand should your benefits be at all compromised by what is going on in Washington.

Source: CBSNews.com, "Shutdown threatens $6B in vets' disability, pension pay" No author given, Oct. 09, 2013

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