About 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month if the partial government shutdown continues into late October, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told lawmakers Wednesday. Some 315,000 veterans and 202,000 surviving spouses and dependents will see pension payments stopped.
Shinseki spelled out some of the dire consequences of a longer-term shutdown in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The short-term consequences have meant that disability claims production has slowed by an average of about 1,400 per day since the shutdown began Oct. 1, and that has stalled the department’s efforts to reduce the backlog of disability claims pending for longer than 125 days.
In all, more than $6 billion in payments to more than five million beneficiaries would be halted with an extended shutdown.