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Do veterans get benefits during a government shutdown?

There are numerous benefits programs available to veterans. Many of these benefits extend to housing, job training and counseling

Naturally, many veterans may become worried any time the government shuts down, which occurred at the end of 2018. It is vital for veterans to stay up-to-date on their benefits and know when the money will come in. Many veterans live paycheck to paycheck, so here are the facts. 

Military pay

For members still active in the United States military, the government still expects them to show up to work. However, in the event of a shutdown, they will not receive their paychecks. Congress would need to pass a bill stating military personnel still receive payments, but such a bill does not exist yet.

There are other ways in which a shutdown impacts military personnel. For example, troops cannot receive essential equipment during a shutdown. Occasionally, the military sends reservists home during a shutdown, which means they cannot recover any compensation once the government re-opens. 

Retiree and Survivor Benefit Plan

Fortunately, veterans will still receive their pension checks during a government shutdown. The reason for this is that funding for these checks does not relate to Congress's funding bill. Due to shutdowns in the past, Veteran Affairs had to lobby Congress to fund the VA on a separate two-year budget cycle. The department has advanced appropriations to get funding ahead of time to continue sending out pension checks. This is vital for the safety and well-being of the nation's veterans. 

SGLI payments, GI Bill benefits and VA disability pay

Similarly to the Retiree and Survivor Benefit Plan, these other payments will continue in the event of a shutdown. However, when new veterans open a claim to try to start receiving these payments, those claims may have limits. There is not as much support during a shutdown to get the ball rolling, but by and large, veterans do have some courses of action to pursue during a shutdown. 

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