On October 1, 2013 the U.S. government was forced to shut down and suspend many federal services due to a lack of funding. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has enacted its contingency plan for such an event to ensure that the most critical services continue through the shutdown.
All VA Healthcare services will continue to operate as usual, including all specialty care services. Counseling, VA home loan processing, and all veterans benefit assistance call centers, except the VBA Education Call Center, will be available.
Although the core services will continue as usual, several VA services will be limited or suspended for the duration of the shutdown. Some important lapses in services for disabled veterans include:
- The VA will not make any decisions on disability claims appeals.
- Internments at National Cemeteries may be conducted on a limited schedule.
- Limitations on vocational rehabilitation and education counseling.
- Mandatory overtime for claims processing is no longer in effect.
One of the most important situations for disabled veterans waiting on a decision for their benefits claim is that claims processing and payments for compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation will continue on a normal (non-overtime) schedule through October. In the event of a prolonged shutdown, the VA will continue processing operations until it exhausts its funding.
If a prolonged shutdown occurs, the VA is expected to continue to review and update its contingency plan to ensure it is able to provide the most critical services to veterans for as long as possible.
The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group is here to help veterans understand their rights to disability benefits and appeal decisions when applicable. Get in touch with us today – 1-855-855-8992.