Shutdown Impact: Veterans Regional Offices Close
The National Weather Service is forecasting weather and issuing warnings while the National Hurricane Center continues to track storms. The scientific work of the U.S. Geological Survey has been halted.
The FBI estimates that about 80 percent of its 34,000 employees are working and says it is prepared to meet any immediate threats. However, activities are suspended for other, longer-term investigations of crimes. Training and other support functions have been slashed.MILITARY The military's 1.4 million active-duty personnel remain on duty. About half of the Defense Department's civilian employees were furloughed, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly all 350,000 back on the job. The shutdown created a ripple effect with some defense contractors. Lockheed Martin said Monday that it was furloughing about 2,400 workers. Top defense officials noted that critical programs and benefits remain halted. For example, the department does not have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action â¿¿ typically a cash payment of $100,000 within three days of the death of a service member. The Obama administration said Wednesday that a private charity would pick up the costs of the payments during the shutdown and be reimbursed later. The military has also stopped providing tuition assistance for service members taking college courses during off-duty hours. VETERANS SERVICES Veterans are still able to get inpatient care at hospitals and mental health counseling at vet centers and outpatient clinics because Congress approved funding for VA health care programs one year in advance. Operators are also staffing the crisis hotline. The VA says its efforts to reduce the backlog in disability benefit claims have been stalled because claims processors are no longer being required to work 20 hours of overtime per month. Access to regional VA offices has been suspended, making it harder for veterans to get information about their benefits and the status of their claims. If the shutdown continues into late October, the VA warns that compensation and pension payments to veterans will be halted.
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