The Union Recorder

October 1, 2013

State Veterans Services remain operational during Federal shutdown

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — As an agency of state government, the Georgia Department of Veterans Service (GDVS) is not directly affected by the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday, Oct. 1, according to an agency press release.

All 49 GDVS Veterans Field Service Offices remain open and ready to serve Georgia's 776,000 veterans and their families.

Both state veterans nursing homes (in Augusta and Milledgeville) and both state veterans cemeteries (in Glennville and Milledgeville) remain fully operational.

“The bottom line is we are open for business as usual,” said GDVS Commissioner Pete Wheeler. “Although our friends in the federal VA are affected to some extent by this government shutdown, the Georgia Department of Veterans Service remains open and ready to serve our veterans.”

Dennis Mize, administrator for the Georgia War Veterans Home, said veterans receive federal and state benefits. Mize said the government shutdown has no local effect at the moment.

“Today, business is normal here,” Mize said. “We haven't skipped a beat.”

Veterans may continue to apply for federal and state benefits at any GDVS office. State benefit applications will be filed and processed normally; federal benefit applications will be filed normally but processing may be delayed as the federal government shutdown affects the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

At present the VBA estimates processing will be unaffected unless the shutdown continues into late October.

Veterans applying for medical benefits through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs should be aware the VHA is funded on a two-year budget cycle and is fiscally solvent through the end of FFY 2014. Therefore, VA hospitals and outpatient clinics will remain open through this shutdown, and veterans' medical needs should be unaffected. 

Veterans who require assistance applying for medical benefits may contact any GDVS Veterans Field Service Office as usual.

Although a portion of the GDVS operating budget is federally funded, the majority of its funding comes from state appropriations. If the federal government shutdown persists long enough to have an impact on the GDVS non-medical budget, the department will issue guidance as appropriate. At present, GDVS does not expect to be affected by the federal government shutdown.

“Our offices our open, our nursing homes are operational, and our cemeteries will function as normal,” said Commissioner Wheeler. “This federal government shutdown will not affect the services offered to veterans by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service.”

For information on the full impact of the federal government shutdown on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, please see that agency's website at www.va.gov.

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