Government Shutdown Devastating to Veterans

Government Shutdown Devastating to Veterans

CONTACT: Carlisle Williams (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Government Shutdown Devastating to Veterans

IAVA Demands Congress Restore Death Benefits for Families of Fallen 

At Congressional Hearing, IAVA Testimony Highlights Negative Effects of Shutdown on Veterans Community

NEW YORK (October 9, 2013) – Americans are starting to grasp the full impact of the federal government shutdown on veterans and troops. Today, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki appeared before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to discuss the impact of the shutdown on veterans. In his testimony, he said that if the shutdown continues, veterans won’t receive disability and GI Bill benefits on November 1.

The hearing also included testimony from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which called for Washington to end the shutdown that has a damaging effect on veterans and troops. IAVA continues to call for an end to the shutdown, and clarity for those veterans trapped in the uncertainty of how the shutdown will continue to affect their benefits and services. IAVA has launched a Change.org petition calling for Washington to put a stop to the political games and ensure that veterans get the care they need: 

“Veterans are hurting and are tired of being used as political chew toys, said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “They need Washington to end the shutdown so they can receive and benefit from the services and support they have earned. But until the government re-opens, our veterans deserve clear, reliable, and accurate information.” 

IAVA’s full testimony can be found here. IAVA is continuously updating its FAQ, which details how veterans are increasingly affected by the shutdown:

The VA announced a new wave of furloughs resulting in suspended services. 

National Guard drills are being rescheduled or cancelled in many states, affecting troop readiness and pay.

Veterans who receive disability and GI Bill benefits don’t know when they’ll get their next check.

The Pentagon is unable to pay $100,000 in death gratuity benefits to grieving families.

While the death benefits are suspended, the military charity Fisher House Foundation has pledged to cover costs for grieving families.

IAVA strongly supports legislation being considered today in Congress, which would reinstate survivor benefits. 

“This is disgraceful. There’s no worse example of how Washington politics is hurting military families than the denial of benefits to families whose son or daughter died in uniform,” Rieckhoff said. “We strongly back the effort to immediately restore death gratuity benefits. Yet, the work should not end there. The government must re-open to support all veterans who have been hurt.”

While many VA support services are suspended, demand for IAVA resources has significantly increased. IAVA’s case managers are trained to help veterans navigate all types of transition issues. If the government shutdown affects one’s benefits, livelihood, or well-being and he or she needs support, contact IAVA at 855-91-RAPID (72743). IAVA can connect veterans to resources and help minimize the disruption to their lives.

Note to media: Please contact press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 if you would like to schedule an interview with IAVA.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator. 

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