VBA resources for Veterans, dependents, survivors, and federal employees during shutdown
Many are feeling stressed during this government shutdown, including those who have served our country. Veterans, who are also government employees, are included in those being furloughed or working without pay.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one agency fortunate enough to be fully funded for the year ahead of the shutdown and are operating as usual. The VA says they say they are “not only still open for business, but we are actively working to provide you with much needed support and relief.”
The VA is reaching out to veterans that are experiencing “personal and financial stress” from the partial shutdown. According to their website, they are helping in a multitude of ways including:
- Compensation and Pension: VA continues to pay disability compensation and pension benefits to 5.5 million disabled Veterans, dependents and survivors.
- Education Benefits: VA’s Education Service is working overtime during this critical enrollment period so that GI Bill® payments are issued correctly and on time. Anyone facing a financial hardship due to the furlough or a delayed GI Bill® payment can contact the Education Call Center at 1-888-GIBILL-1 for assistance between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
- Home Loans: VA has encouraged loan servicers to be flexible in dealing with borrowers who have lost income due to the shutdown. In addition to providing assistance through loan modifications or other loss mitigation options, VA loan servicers can waive late fees and suspend negative credit-bureau reporting. Veterans who have questions about their VA home loan or Specially Adapted Housing benefits can contact VA staff toll free at 877-827-3702.
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program: VR&E applicants will continue to meet with their counselors who will determine eligibility for services and develop and/or implement a plan to achieve employment or independent living goals. There is no disruption in payments or services, and VA encourages you to apply for this benefit program.
- Insurance: Both the Insurance Center and the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance are working as usual to issue new policies, collect premiums from insured Veterans, maintain policies, pay claims, and answer calls from Service members, Veterans and their beneficiaries.
- Overpayments: If you have a VBA debt and need temporary financial relief, contact the Debt Management Center (DMC) at 800-827-0648 to request assistance. The DMC can stay or suspend collection activity on your account until April 1, 2019.
- VA Community Care and Hardship: There are options for Veterans who suffer from difficult financial circumstances and struggle to pay VA co-payments. Financial assistance and hardship services are available.
“VBA is honored to continue serving you–our Veterans, dependents, and survivors–during these difficult times.” For more information, visit their website.