Days away from Christmas and the New Year, when many Americans are planning their vacations and spending time with friends and family, the government is mere hours away from a government shutdown. While many government agencies are already funded through September 2019, about half a million government employees would be impacted by a government shutdown.
While veterans are more protected than other constituencies, a government shutdown could still cause disruption. About one-third of the federal workforce is made up of veterans, so any shutdown affecting a government agency means that veterans will be impacted — that means either veterans will be working without pay or furloughed, and told to leave without pay, right before the holidays.
One of the agencies that will be impacted under this government shutdown is the Department of Homeland Security. That means those serving in the Coast Guard and Custom and Border Protection agents will be required to work without pay over the holidays. Normally, that pay is retroactively given, however it’s not guaranteed. So the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday to protect our borders will be working without pay this holiday season.
If there is any bit of good news in this somber time, it’s that the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense have already been funded for the year. All branches of the military except for the Coast Guard are funded through DoD and will continue to be paid through any government shutdown. The VA also gets funded earlier in the year, so VA medical centers, clinics and other health services would remain open, and GI Bill benefits would not be impacted. Additionally, claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs would likely not be impacted by a government shutdown in the near term.
It’s a particularly distressing news day going into the holiday season. Know that IAVA has your back, today and every day.