Yesterday, which happened to be the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the government slipped into a shutdown after failing to agree on key issues, including whether to protect the “dreamers,” a group of nearly 800,000 undocumented persons who arrived in this country as children, from deportation.
The government shutdown will have a pervasive impact; thousands of “non-essential” government employees will be unable to report to work, critical federally-funded programming for students, such as Head Start, will cease to operate, and many military programs will be affected. This blog reflects on the ways veterans were affected by the 2013 government shutdown and predicts what will happen in the coming weeks.
Disability Benefits Will Not be Affected
Thankfully, because disability pay and GI Bill payments are funded by legislation that is unrelated to the shutdown, it is likely that they will be unaffected.
Shutdown Will Not Affect Regional Offices, Disability Claim Processing, or VA Hospitals
During the 2013 shutdown, the Department of Veterans' Affairs ("VA") closed its Regional Offices (“RO”) and, therefore, stopped processing disability claims, adding to its ever-growing backlog. Luckily, the VA learned its lesson, and ever since then its funding has been appropriated in advance. Therefore, the VA, including regional offices and hospitals, shouldn’t suffer any harmful effects from the shutdown.
How to Win Disability Benefits
Because the VA is largely unaffected by the government shutdown, now is an excellent time for all veterans with a service-connected disability to apply for disability benefits. If you have already applied and you received a denial or an unacceptable rating decision, contact us to discuss filing an appeal. With decades of experience cutting through the VA’s bureaucracy and overturning negative RO decisions, we are confident we can win you the benefits you deserve. When you are ready, send us a note or give us a call at (877) 629-1712.