Shutdown = furloughs, although the President is getting paid still, congress is getting paid still, military killed in action?………not getting paid.
Who isnt getting paid? I'll tell you exactlly who has paid the ultimate sacrifice and payments have been delayed.
They died Oct. 6, in Zhari District, Afghanistan, of
injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised
1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., assigned to Madigan Army
Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa., assigned to the 3rd Battalion,
75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.
Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo., assigned to the 5th Military
Police Battalion, Vicenza, Italy.
Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore., assigned to the 3rd Battalion,
75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Benning, Ga.
Lance Cpl. Jeremiah M. Collins, Jr., 19, of Milwaukee, Wis., died Oct. 5
while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was
assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine
Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"I just got off the phone with a staffer for the Armed
Services Committee, at present there "no pending or current proposed
legislation" to help the new or future gold star families while the
government shut down is in place. If you'd like to give them a piece of your
mind like I did, here's the #: 202-224-3871"
Veterans regional offices will be closed and nobody will answer their phones beginning Tuesday morning (today) as the government shutdown forces furloughs of 7,000 employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration.
Time for a C-Ga
“All public access to VBA regional offices and facilities will be
suspended,” said Veterans Affairs Department spokeswoman Victoria
Walk-ins and phone calls to regional offices are common to get status
reports on benefits and to seek help. The voluntary officers from
veterans organizations who help file claims are located in many regional
offices, so access to them could be restricted.
While phones won’t be answered at regional offices, most toll-free
numbers where veterans can get help with benefits remain open. One
exception is the GI Bill call center, which is closed and won’t reopen
until the VA receives funding.
The Veterans Benefits Administration has more than 21,000 employees,
most of who will remain on the job. Of the 332,000 total VA employees,
fewer than 15,000 are subject to furloughs during lapses in
appropriations, according to VA’s contingency planning. The bulk of the
furlough-exempt employees are involved in medical care.
Additionally, 2,754 employees of the VA’s Office of Information Technology were furloughed on Monday.
Veterans might not see an immediate impact, but all development of VA
software will stop, including work on the Veterans Benefits Management
System that is a key part of plans for eliminating the claims backlog by
the end of 2015.
Another shoe could drop soon as VA officials warn that a government
shutdown ending in the last two weeks of October could result in delays
in Nov. 1
benefits payments, including disability compensation, GI Bill living
stipends and dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors. No
firm date has been given for when the VA would run out of money
Veterans hospitals and clinics remain open, as do counseling and
rehabilitation programs. An updated list of what is open and closed is
available here: www.va.gov/opa/appropriations_lapse_plan.asp.
Benefits claims continue to be processed and new claims are being
accepted. However, Dillon warned the pace of processing is slowing.
“VA’s ability to make significant progress reducing the disability
claims backlog is hampered without the increased productivity gained
from overtime for claims processors,”she said. Mandatory overtime “has
helped VA significantly reduce the disability claims backlog by more
than 190,000 claims over the last six months,” she said.
As of Monday,
there were 725,165 pending benefits claims, including 418,711 that are
considered by the VA to be part of the so-called “backlog” because they
have been pending longer than the 125-day processing goal.
There was a very modest drop of 304 claims in the total, but the VA did
hit one landmark as the number of pending disability compensation claims
fell just below 400,000.
Claims processors have been working a minimum of 20 hours a month of
overtime since mid-May in an effort to process claims. Before the
government shut down on Oct. 1, the VA had intended to keep mandatory
overtime until Nov.16,
then switch to voluntary overtime through the end of the calendar year.
However, mandatory overtime as stopped during the shutdown, she said.
Working extra hours, along with several initiatives to improve claims
procedures, resulted in a 30 percent drop in the claims backlog since
March, Dillon said, as the VA was processing about 100,000 claims a
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee wants to question VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on Wednesday about how the VA is operating under a shutdown but it is unclear whether Shinseki will appear.
In a letter requesting Shinseki’s testimony, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.,
committee chairman, complains that Congress feels like it has been left
in the dark.
“As you should know, I and others have sought greater clarity regarding
shutdown-related efforts on VA over the last week, yet we have received
no answers from your department,” Miller said in an Oct. 4 letter.
Miller said he expects Shinseki to address the timing and scope of any
interruptions in veterans’ benefits, the impact on claims processing of
the loss of funding for overtime and why the VA has stopped providing
briefings for Congress if the people who would provide the briefings are
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
Shutdown of military death benefits stirs national action
nonprofit group dedicated to helping troops and Marines decided to jump
in to assist families of killed military members deprived of their
$100,000 death benefits after reading a Washington Times report.
Jennifer Magerer, executive director of Family Communications and Logistics for Luke’s
Wings, said in an interview with The Washington Times that staffers on
Tuesday voted to take thousands of their nonprofit’s dollars and put
it toward paying for the families to fly to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the bodies and caskets will be unloaded.
“We read the story,” Ms. Magerer
said, in reference to an earlier Times report that detailed the plight
of families of recently killed service members, “and we talked about
if we could step in a do something. Our … president said go for it.”
She also said in an emailed statement that her group was “deeply
saddened” by the government’s failure to pay the benefit.
Within minutes, she said staffers had reached out with telephone calls to the Undersecretary of the Army, to the wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps and to contacts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to see if they could join together Luke’s Wings with the families of the killed service members and facilitate the offer.
offer for assistance came in response to reports that the government
shutdown was leaving at least five families of recently killed U.S.
service members in the lurch on separate $100,000 death benefits. The
payment fills in for the service member’s regular pay, until the more
permanent survivor benefits begin. It’s normally used to pay for
funeral costs, transportation costs and living expenses for the
surviving family, and is disbursed within 36 hours of the military
Meanwhile, the death benefit fiasco has reached the ears of Congress.
Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of Defense
Chuck Hagel, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Times, that
read in part: “The President made it clear that there should be no
disruption in pay and allowances for the men and women serving in
uniform and their families. Contrary to this assertion … the Department
of Defense, through careless legal interpretation, is now mistakenly
denying payments of Death Gratuity and other benefits to the families of
those who make the ultimate sacrifice. Since DoD has determined that
it cannot provide this benefit, I am at a loss about why DoD did not
take a more active role in notifying Congress and insisting that changes in law occur immediately.”
Republicans in Congress
announced they’re drafting legislation to immediately restore the
payment to families and hope it could be put to a vote as early as