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Q&A: How a government shutdown would affect VA programs

Sep. 24, 2013 - 04:34PM   |  
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In case of a government shutdown, many Veterans Affairs Department programs are exempt or partly shielded from the impact:

Will I continue to receive my benefits?

Disability compensation, GI Bill education benefits, survivors benefits and pensions for current beneficiaries will continue without interruption, because funds for these benefits are not subject to annual appropriations.

What happens to my pending claim?

Staffing details have not been resolved, but claims processing is expected to be delayed. However, life insurance and home loan applications will be processed as usual. The board of appeals for veterans claims will issue no decisions during a shutdown.

Will I be able to file a new benefits claim?

Yes. Call centers will remain open to answer questions. But processing of benefits claims could be delayed.

Will VA hospitals and clinics be open?

Inpatient and outpatient care will continue to be available. This includes filling prescriptions, counseling services, surgeries and dental treatments.

How are burial benefits affected?

Previously scheduled interments will continue, but the schedule for internments could be reduced. Applications for headstones and grave markers will be processed, as will life insurance payments.

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