Well, it is October 1st and as Halloween decorations are going up the government is shutting down. Partially, anyhow. But what does a “partial” government shutdown mean to those steely eyed killers walking on patrol in Afghanistan and the not-so-steely eyed veterans who are now reliant on the VA for healthcare, disability payments, and/or pensions?
Great question! In an effort to help provide some clarity in the murky waters that surround the shutdown I have done some sleuthing around to find some answers. So, in no particular order, here are the things that I discovered:
1. If you are serving in the military, then you have little to fear. The congress passed a bill, which the president signed, that guaranteed paychecks for active duty and reserve status military personnel (along with some government employees and contractors). For more information go here.
2. If you are retired and receiving a military pension, then you can rest easy. Since pensions are considered an entitlement and are not funded by annual appropriations they are safe from the shutdown. If, however, the government hits the debt ceiling then they may be affected. For more information go here.
3. VA health care, pension, and disability payments. There is good news and bad news regarding the VA. The good news is that they are lightly impacted by furloughs and medical services will be unaffected, but the bad news is that they will likely run out of funds to pay all of their pension and disability payments if the shutdown lasts more than a few weeks. Other programs, such as the GI Bill and others, will also be hit if the shutdown is prolonged. For information on what is and is not impacted at the VA go here. For information on the testimony that the VA provided congress about the impact of the shutdown (and how it will affect future payments) go here.
I hope this helps you get the information you need to understand the effect of the shutdown on you and your family. Let’s just hope that the government of the nation that we swore to support and defend can get its act together and start moving forward again.