More than 7,000 employees in Veterans Benefits Administration offices nationwide were furloughed today (Tues/8), the newest casualty of the federal government shutdown.
As the Republicans in Washington hold the nation hostage over President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, federal employees are leaving their offices in droves. Now the veterans who rely on the federal government for healthcare and education checks have nothing to do but wait on word of their uncertain futures.
The furlough of veterans benefits workers comes at an especially awful time as they struggle to meet an enormous backlog of health benefit claims, revealed this year by the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting.
“VA’s ability to make significant progress reducing the disability claims backlog is hampered without the increased productivity gained from overtime for claims processors,” the Veterans Benefits Administration said in a statement released today. The agency has reduced the disability claims backlog by more than 190,000 claims over the last six months, it wrote.
But even worse, it said that if the government shutdown persists into late October there would be no funding available to supply veterans with their November support checks -- money many rely on for rent and food.