Bloomington, Indiana – September 29, 2023
With the looming possibility of a government shutdown, questions are arising about the potential impact on services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While it remains uncertain whether a shutdown will indeed occur, here is a breakdown of how it would affect the VA’s clients (veterans and their families), as announced by the agency:
- Veteran Health Care: VA Medical Centers, Outpatient Clinics, and Vet Centers will remain open, ensuring continued access to healthcare services for veterans.
- VA Benefits: Processing and delivery of VA benefits, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits, will continue uninterrupted.
- Burials: Burials will proceed as scheduled at VA national cemeteries, and applications for headstones, markers, and burial benefits will continue to be processed.
- Board of Veterans’ Appeals: The Board of Veterans’ Appeals will continue making decisions on veterans’ cases as usual.
- VA Contact Centers: The VA Contact Centers, accessible at 1-800-MyVA411, and the Veterans Crisis Line, reachable by dialing 988 and pressing 1, will remain open 24/7 to assist veterans in need.
- Veteran Career Counseling: VA will not provide Veteran career counseling or transition assistance program activities during a government shutdown.
- GI Bill Hotline: The GI Bill Hotline will be temporarily closed, affecting veterans seeking information and assistance related to education benefits.
- VA Benefits Regional Offices: VA benefits regional offices will be closed, potentially delaying certain administrative processes.
- Public Affairs and Outreach: VA’s public affairs and outreach efforts to veterans will cease during the shutdown.
- Maintenance of Cemeteries: VA will not permanently place headstones or maintain the grounds at VA national cemeteries, which could affect the upkeep of these solemn sites.
- Pre-Need Burials: Applications for pre-need burials will not be processed during the shutdown period.
- Presidential Memorial Certificates: VA will not print new presidential memorial certificates until government operations are restored.
As the situation remains fluid and dependent on the resolution of budgetary issues in Congress, veterans and their families are encouraged to stay informed about the status of VA services.
For updates and information regarding VA services during a potential government shutdown, veterans are advised to monitor official VA channels or contact the VA Contact Centers and Veterans Crisis Line for assistance.