“Calamity” – One Veteran’s Letter on the Threat of a Full VA Shutdown

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Shame on You All

“My wife and I are totally dependent on my disability check.  Missing one check would throw my financial well being into a calamity…”

John, a PTSD veteran, wrote in yesterday about how a prolonged shutdown would impact him and his family.

Rather than hold his email and emails like it to myself, I thought it might be a better idea to begin posting stories from veterans around the country who will be devastated by a full VA Shutdown.

My hope is that stories like these will shame our incompetent Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, and President into bipartisan action.

I asked if John would be willing to share his story with the world under the condition of anonymity. He not only said yes, he said to use his full name.

Veterans should not be ashamed of how our trust in the system will now harm us, and John is a great example for other veterans who want to step forward with their story.

Let’s hope John’s story and those like it will help influence leaders to change direction.

Here is John’s letter:

Dear Ben,

I just read this morning that if the shut down lasts until late October my disability payment may not be paid.  You know, this is really one hell of a note.  I’m rated at 70% but paid at the 100% rate for PTSD.  For both Congress and the Senate to operate this way could easily be labeled as treason.  It is absolutely disgusting that these men and women would enter into a game that could seriously injure the men and women who put their lives on the line to safeguard our country.

My wife and I are totally dependent on my disability check.  Missing one check would throw my financial well being into a calamity and my credit score would be shattered.  I don’t think I need to go any farther down this path.  It would be a total disaster if my funds did not arrive as they have in the past.

John Price

If you would like me to share your story, please contact me on the contact page of this website. Keep it short but clear. Otherwise, reporters and those outside of the veteran community may not read it.

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35 Comments

  1. John and I are in exactly the same boat. Ben, I don’t know what I would do if we go into a full government shutdown either. I’ve started to do some damage control already. I’ve stockpiled some food and have also signed up at my local food bank. I’ve ordered any pending medications via mail order from the VA hospital as well. My landlord is on notice. Not sure how it will go over with the finance company that handles my car payments. This is a situation where we can only do so much. I’m still trying my best to remain hopeful…hoping for the best, but expecting the worse. What else can we do?

  2. I feel sad to know that I too am in the same boat. Why not take from the top.. They say in the military lead by example but yet the example we see is SCREW
    THE ONES WHO FOUGHT FOR YOU!
    It makes me sick!

  3. I am a 70% disabled vet. I also go to school on a chapter 31 through the VA. I have been in school for 2 yrs. now and have only one semester to finish. My VA checks cover all my bills. It is the money my family lives on. I served my country proudly and would do it all over. It is been far to long since we had a working government. It is time to fix this mess and if they wont, then get rid of them and start fresh. It is not about being democrat or republican, they all need to realize this. IT IS ABOUT BEING AN AMERICAN AND DIONG WHAT IS RIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY. They don’t seem to understand just how many people will be hurt by this and how much damage this is doing to our country. A country that has been in a mess for far to long. I also need to say that I am ashamed of our government and how they represent America. Government officials the American people put you in office to represent them, IT’S TIME YOU DID SO

    Steve Bird

  4. I think all the Vets are in the same boat, I was medical retired in March still waiting on pay my family and I have used all our saving to maintain bills and just everyday living. Our Government is just like the mob, take even if by strong arm. If I don’t get paid soon My family will lose all we have worked for, some American dream, seems to me the only ones who gets to live it these days are the ones on top who have step on the ones who put their lives on the line to provide.

  5. I would LOVE to share my story.
    I am a 100% permanent and totally disabled Iraqi Freedom veteran, also a single mother of an amazing 11 year old boy. I recently moved to a new state to make like better for my son and I. Needless to say moving is quiet an expense and have used my entire savings to move. I depend solely on my disability payments coming from the VA every month to put a roof over our heads and clothes on my sons back and food in his stomach. I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if I didn’t get paid. I have no family at all (was a foster child) and not a single friend here in my new hometown. I signed on the dotted line and put my life on the line for this country. My country made a promise to me and I expect them to keep it. If I broke my promise to my country I would have been seriously punished. Now are you going to let this happen to us? My son and I who depend on my payments which was promised to me? If so can you still call this the greatest country on earth? Please I beg of you guys to get your act together and get this settled. I am only 1 out of millions.
    Kerri

  6. I am a 90 percent disabled Veteran. I am unable to maintain regular employment. I depend on the pension and what part time job I can find. I have been forgotten by an ubgrateful President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and all their fellow travelers.

  7. Another “same story” here. My mortgage is paid by my disability, so we’ll see how this plays out…probably not well, as it won’t for any veteran!

  8. Great article,
    I too, am disabled veteran, married & father of 3, I work 2 part time jobs. And I go it college part time. Working part time I’m not guaranteed any set number of hours a week. So my family and I depend on VA checks.
    This is a joke to all of us Veterans who rely on the VA for many resources, while everyone in DC are still getting paid!! get your act together. We served our Country only to be treated as such?

  9. I am a 100 percent disabled female. I lost my home two years ago in the banking crisis and after being forced to file bankruptcy then, I just made my first payment this month on the home I live in now. It’s unbelievable this stuff can happen over and over to those who serve their country and become disabled due their service. I don’t live outside of my means but somehow the economy and government has put a stranglehold on my ability to live and function without fear of homelessness. What is a person to do anymore? Nothing is guaranteed.

  10. Of the 435 members of Congress, only 89 are Veterans. This means 80 percent of Congressional members have no idea what it means to serve. If we’re going to be represented as we were in the 80’s (when 230 Veterans comprised over half the seats) we’re going to have to get a voice back in the House & Senate. Vote your heart, but I personally make it a point to ensure every vote I cast goes to a candidate who lists a DD-214 in his/her bio.

    • All I know is that I did not vote for Slick Willy (draft dodger) or Odumbo (not born in this country). I do my homework, it’s a shame most people vote with their heart instead of the cold, hard, facts.

  11. Yet again our government proves it cares not for Vets.No disability check = Disaster.also no processing of pending claims,5years to get COMPENSATION AND PENSION Physical,now sitting on ratings desk since Feb.2013?C&P PHYSICAL FIVE DAYS AFTER CONTACTING Sen.Rubio..Backlog climbing every day.
    40% disabled vet,over 30 years fighting for VA Disablity.

    • If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others please call Veterans Suicide Hotline @ 1 (800) 273 8255…oh wait thats shutdown as well!

      • I have called that number-all they do is bust down your door to arrest you while putting you in a strait jacket. You are crazy to kill yourself because life is worth living-yeah right.

  12. My name is Raymond E, Queen

    I am in the same way 40% disable and need every penny I get from the va and ss. my wife and I are very concerned, about our future,,we have right at enough to pay for food ,house, car, meds we do not go out can not afford it I hope the higher uppers get the word, I am a VN vet. good luck to all of us
    for some reason I cannot pay for all of my meds, I believe it was the sequester that the president inposed on us.

  13. im a 100% SERVICE CONNECTED vietnam veteran totally and permanently rated disable,,,,i also draw SSD and have supported my sons family for some time while they go to school,,,i would have alot of major problems with no check,,, we dont get food stamps section 8 housing and free child care like alot of illegals living around us do,,,we also try to support veterans groups and i go to VA alot,,,i will have to let everything go which would be so awful,,, i will be begging for help i guess that is what america has come to,,, war veterans begging on the street

  14. I am rated at 60%, but remember a couple of years back during the whole ‘financial cliff’ dealings, it was then that I was stressing myself to the point of becoming sick AND THEN I swore I would NEVER rely on that monthly disability paycheck. In other words, my monthly disability paycheck now goes into a savings account (which yields squat now with all the money printing but thats a different story for another website). What I make from my job is what I use to live (and to save what I can).

    Do understand though that I am still physically able to work. My heart fully aches for those that cannot and have no choice but to fully depend on that government paycheck. if anything, for those of us who are in a more advantegous position, perhaps.. well let me rephrase: Perhaps ‘I’ need to be an even better steward of the money I have saved by helping those less fortunate.

  15. My husband is 100% service connected disabled Viet Nam Veteran. We are dependent on his VA disability and SSD for himself, my daughter, myself and my grandson that live with us. We,too, have stockpiled food and have some savings but they won’t last forever. Clearly the commander in chief and those who are elected to represent us in Washington don’t care about the military or the veterans. It is really time to replace them all.

  16. I am a unemployable disabled Vet (100%) who will also have some severe financial problems if we don’t receive our VA disability pay. We rely on it to pay most of our household bills (including the mortgage), but on top of that, we recently found out that we are expecting and I will need to (very soon) get maternity clothing that I will not be able to afford if I don’t get my VA disability pay. Not a happy time in our household right now due to the financial stress of the shutdown!

  17. Recently retired vet, relying on education benefits to pay the bills until I gain employment. A shutdown would mean possible foreclosure on my home, reduced credit rating, and college bills that the government PROMISED to pay. I served honorably for 21 years…and now worry about even getting my pension…and my wife is furloughed to boot…thanks a lot capital hill. We will remember this come election time…heck…I just might run against you!

  18. I, too am one of the one-hundred percenters that depend on my disability check. I am also one of the few who went to Iraq and came back alive, but I may as well be dead because I have PTSD and I am deemed “unemployable”. I also have a college-age son living with me who I also support and a pet. This entire family would be put on the street if I do not get that check! I gave 22 years of my life to the Navy/Marines. I held up my end of the bargain-why can’t the government hold up theirs?!!!

  19. I too am 100% service connected disabled veteran and rated total and permanent. Thank God my house is paid for but I am stockpiling food. I have enough savings to survive a couple of months. Considered trying to go back to work but that has been a failure in the past and I fear VA would take my benefits away if I tried anyway. Someone pointed out that if we broke our promise to the government we would have been punished, probably Dishonorably Discharged. How about we give Congress and the President Dishonorable Discharges for failing America and her wounded warriors.

  20. I am an unemployed, 20% SC disabled vet, enrolled with the VRAP and waiting 5 years now for my increase (I had my appeal hearing in March this year). I am barely making it from week to week with the help of the unemployment check and unfortunately food stamps (I have never wanted to be on food stamps but a blessing at this point). I was told by the chief of Prosthetics that I was approved for my two clothing allowances and he sent them off in mid-August but I call the 1.800.827.1000 and I get a different answer every time I call but the all say I have been denied for this year (although I have been getting a CA for 8 yrs. now)still no pay for those. I called to verify for Sept. for the VRAP and they have no record on me (this was sent in in Aug 28 I have the cert ID) so no payment from them for Sept. And now they may stop paying for educations benefits. So the VA owes me over $2000 not counting if my increase would ever get approved and now I may get nothing from them for next month. that leaves me $162 a wk. unemployment and food stamps to live on. I can not pay any bills so things are not very good for me as well as the rest of all of you. But the Congressmen are still getting paid everyday they are keeping this shut down going. We all need to go to WA DC and remove all of them by force if need be. they can only stop so many of us and the rest can make it in and take care of things. Remember President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” WE ARE THE PEOPLE!!!!

      • You are correct on that. But about three week earlier Booth and some of his co- conspirators planned to kidnap the President and take him to Richmond VA. but President Lincoln did not show up where they had planned to kidnap him. If they would have kidnapped him, what would have happened? We will never know. But his words are a very important part of how the Government should be ran. We need to take back the government and make it that way again. It is only going to get worse from here and as you well know, the Veterans’ are the ones who seem to get hit the hardest. It should not be that way.

  21. All I know is that my heart and soul are literally breaking. Not so much for myself, I am just numb. If I do not get my disability check, I will try to buy one of those compact vans and live in that. I am 70 percent rated and for the nay sayers: I still contribute to society by random acts of kindness and faithfully trying to get well. I am a Viet Name Era Vet and US Navy Vet and never saw combat, although many years ago I requested to go to Nam. Not a nurse, Dr. or male so could not go, I will tell you this,99% of the people I served with had this inner spirit to serve their country and willing to put their lives on the line. Freedom does not come from sitting back in a leather chair, collecting full social security benefits at 62; when the general population has to wait until 66 or above, I may be wrong but I have not been able to get a congressional office to send me a detailed line up of their perks. No one wants war, but as a teen, I was deeply affected by the treatment our vets received on their return. Fortunately, I had many “round table” discussion with my dad, God rest his soul; and volunteered at Phila Naval Hospital and it was there I realized, I needed to study my constitution and work to understand and serve the country that I love and still do. It is the people who make our nation great. For all the kids coming back today, have faith, the DAV offices are remaining open, even thought they are not getting paid. Their belief in “getting the job done” is strong enough to look beyond their own comforts. Not everyone is in that position, terminally ill, young children, taking care of parents. It is through the sacrifices of people such as these that will not allow myself to give up on my country. To all my brothers and sisters that I served with, just gloss over the comments by people who have no understanding that most people do not just join now because they don’t know what they want to do after high school. Heard that comment many times about our current kids serving and It seethes in my gut but I am too old to risk ulcers, so I continue to get off my butt and see what I can do and offer my thoughts when waiting for a bus at VA and an older broken down vet asks me what they should do, I tell them to keep asking for help, make your medical appointments, be honest and open with your Dr.;s and if you need see the patient advocates. They are another group that although; and I have gotten pissed, if you work with them, an understanding is usually reached. Angry about our congressional leaders but for essential leaders daring to scare vets that their checks will stop, while sitting in their big leather chairs, which we provide. Enough of the scare tactics, our men and women who served and are now serving in the belief that they are helping to bring about some sense of stability not for the systems in their countries b ut for the human beings who suffer grave torture for speaking out. Veterans who served whether in combat or not are the backbone of this great country. The World War II vets said “the hell with you”, I am going to the memorial. Who would get off their ass from their comfortable leather chair and stop them? I can no longer point fingers but to the gentleman who wrote above and to all those vets suffering and worrying, remember there are other vets out here trying to reach out to you and there is no shame in gaining a new friend and seeing through to the light of all that you did and sacrificed for all of us. God speed, For all the babies who would have been denied formula, that wonderful couple kept that system going. You have provided these individuals the opportunities to grow a business, I presume and they stepped up to the plate. Now if we can get the butts that are glued and spreading in their leather chairs, to come out and meet the veterans they serve; and who have served them with life, limb and afforded them their cushy office staffs, civil servants I might add, whom I have found work very diligently on behalf of constituents. Do your homework, get the job done. I do no deny you your write off’s, vacations but not on my dime. Do you really need that driver? How about investing in a “green” car. I understand, you can get a tax break if you buy one. Absurd, yes, because the average vet can only dream about the car and it’s write off but approve this pay for VETS Now. In the end, you may sleep now but it will catch up with your conscience. Shame shame on you reading this from your leather chair. I know this in lengthy and sometimes seem “all about me, but I cannot vent my abject sadness and wanting to put my arms around every vet who may end up desolate and just give up. Do not give up, you are honorable men and women, hold your heads up. If they do not pay us, we can always bus to DC and ask for housing vouchers; or maybe even the use of some of their vacation properties. Congress get unglued from your leather chairs and do what I hope the majority of your conscience is telling you. Don;t be afraid of the higher ups, man/woman up and get this done now. Shame shame shame.

    Mary Vales

  22. My OEF/OIF veteran husband is rated at 100% disabled. I receive a caregiver’s stipend so that I am able to stay home with him to attend to his various needs – otherwise he would be institutionalized. We have three children together, two of whom also have special needs. Usually we have a decent amount of emergency savings, but as it is tax season, our cushion is pretty small right now. We have a nice stockpile of rice and beans, though. It will hopefully let us save enough money to pay our mortgage and property taxes this year. If not… I don’t know what would happen. My husband has been absolutely going in a downward spiral for the last few weeks, mentally. He feels like the country he fought for, sacrificed his health and well-being for, etc., is betraying him and the rest of the veterans, and even those on active duty. Even if they do end up paying in the end, the veterans’ payments are still being used as bargaining chips in politics. It’s a shame, it really is.

    • I am sorry that your husband is going down hill and I hope that he can go to a VA and get some further care. It can be scary; especially where mental health is concerned but he knows he has done an honorable thing, and has every right to feel abandoned. I am not going to continue writing what if and do you know. I hope that you, as the caregiver are taking care of yourself as much as you can. Your husband as well as a lot of us are feeling as though we have been kicked in the gut. If I lived around where you are, I would surely try to come and help. Do you have an association with churches in your area? I understand that your husband may not want you to seek assistance. I bet, if you remind him, he would do the same if not more for someone else. I would not be commenting if I was not scared to death, I am. My children and their future, your children and their future and your husband, they all come before you in your thoughts. I will say, and I don’t know that I could do it, you need to take care of you as well. If the checks don’t come in and the mortgage and taxes cannot be paid, call them, Your children’s needs and the needs of you and your husband have to come first. You are not asking for anything but to be able to feed your children, self and spouse. Many of us are at the point, such as myself, we want to do something like the DAV workers. They are on the job even though they are not getting paid. Listen, I am not in your shoes, and I understand about mental health issues and seeking further assistance but one thing is for sure, I would be thinking long and hard about it, but I would hope that I would choose life. You are in my prayers.

  23. My name is Anthony Schultze. This shutdown could not have come at a worse time for me. My family and I depend on those checks, also I am attending school and that will be taken from me too. I served 8 and a half years and was put out for PTSD and TBI. My son is also disabled. We will lose our car, my schooling, my sons schooling, and our place of residence and be put on the street. To top it all off I am waiting on results to see if I have thyroid cancer. To think that the government would put a any family on the street after serving there country is disrespectful, disgusting, and unconstitutional. Just think all the veterans that count on this are going to starve, be homeless, and have nothing. What goes to saythat the best trained mmilitary in the world does not take action to survive just as we did in combat. Would we be jailed trying to take care of our families? I would like to know what the government intends to do if all of us disabled veterans lose everything because of this selfish act. But it is nice to know that all of Congress, House, and the President will continue to be paid while we all suffer. I hope you all can sleep well at night know you are putting all these families on the streets. Veterans will go in to anarchy and do what we need to do to provide and protect our families, so I as well as other veterans im sure, expect to be pardoned for any crimes that may arise.

    Thank you Ben for getting our voices heard.
    Anthony Schultze

  24. I too am in the same boat. 100% disabled single parent of 2 teenagers. I depend on my disability check to pay bills. I have no clue what I’ll do if I don’t get my check. I am worried about how I’ll feed my kids and keep the lights on next month if I don’t get my disability payment. I suffer from PTSD and depression and this is making it worst.

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