Government Shutdown

Is A ‘Government Shutdown’ Threat The New Norm? New Information On How Tonight’s Possible Government Shutdown Could Affect Your Veterans Benefits

Funding for the federal government will expire tonight at midnight, again, meaning the government shutdown vote is scheduled today or funds will run out.

The last government shutdown started January 18, 2018, and thousands of disabled veterans are without payments following a glitch that may be linked to the shutdown.

Tonight, the House of Representatives will vote on whether to allow a government shutdown occur again after the Senate has already passed a funding resolution for the next two years. The House is looking at a six-week solution while they resolve larger issues to get a long-term spending bill that matches the Senate.

“Critically, it would also keep the government funded for another six weeks, giving lawmakers time to put together a long-term spending bill that would stretch through the rest of the fiscal year. The current temporary funding measure is set to expire at midnight on Thursday.”NY Times

Some Democrats are opposed to the bill because it does not address illegal immigration. Some Republicans are opposed to the bill due to feigned concerns over deficits.


Here is what we think happened after the most recent shutdown and how veterans can protect themselves in the event of future a future government shutdown. The big takeaway is that any government shutdown could result in a failure of the agency to pay you.

Be ready.

UPDATED: Feb 8, 2018, 4:00 PM CST

General Government Shutdown

Generally speaking, the VA is funded in advance to avoid what happened in 2013 meaning health care services will continue. Payments for benefits are likely believed to continue, but the past two government shutdowns had problems and some veterans were financially impacted either directly or indirectly by the shutdown.

Veterans Health Administration

The vast majority of all services related to health care will continue without suspension of activities.

Veterans Benefits Administration

All outreach about claims will likely shut down including all public contact teams. I assume veterans adjudications might slow down.

Board Of Veterans Appeals

All adjudications of Board appeals will cease.


Processing of burials will likely cease.

Office of General Counsel

Representations before the courts and related legal services will cease.

There are no guarantees when it comes to money owed you but not yet paid, so be careful and plan accordingly.

Recent Government Shutdown, What Just Happened

Some of you may still be reeling from the recent blowback from the government shutdown where, two weeks later, VA Vocational Rehabilitation failed to turn its subsistence payments spigot back on to ensure veterans in retraining received their monthly subsistence payments.

Over 11,000 disabled veterans in retraining were impacted.

For many veterans, these payments are the equivalent of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which generally ranges from $1,400 to $4,500 per month tax-free depending on your location.

RELATED: Inside Scoop On Five VA Voc Rehab Retraining Tracks

Washington Post first exposed the agency failed to ensure these veterans were paid, and even after one week, at least 30 percent of those veterans surveyed have not been paid despite promises to the contrary. VA Vocational Rehabilitation sent out apology letters without fully explaining the issue.

I believe the failure to make payments may be linked to the government shutdown.

RELATED: Quick Facts On Applying For Voc Rehab

2013 Government Shutdown

Some of you may remember the shutdown in October 2013 that lasted a while.

Many veterans were harmed when that government shutdown resulted in veterans’ payments not being made on time. One of my friends had to take his kids to a food shelter and missed payments for rent and other services as a result.

RELATED: #1 Unofficial VA Voc Rehab Guide

10 Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself

Regardless of the reason for the payment failure, we all need to consider what to do in the event a government shutdown shuts off your benefits payments, whether it be a subsistence payment or your monthly disability compensation payment.

Here is a list of the top 10 things to do before a shutdown that I created in 2013 following the shutdown at that time that screwed a ton of veterans when they did not get paid on time:

  1. Email or call your US Representative, Senator and President to let them know this is unacceptable
  2. Take out a credit card if you lack access to cash – use in emergency
  3. Call creditors, landlords and utility companies to alert them about the potential cut
  4. Call your university financial aid office to request an emergency scholarship
  5. Keep enough cash on hand to live for one month
  6. Keep enough food on hand to live for one month
  7. Call family members or friends who may be able to help
  8. Identify available resources for food and shelter
  9. Identify VA resources that could be available, veterans centers
  10. Develop a spending plan and reduce all unnecessary expenses

I will write more about this later so veterans can easily find it later, because independence from the federal government is how you can keep from being enslaved by its whims.

RELATED: Get Over $300,000 For College Retraining

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  1. Make sure the salary of these “so called, leaders” of this country, is attached to the budget. Guarantee,these SOB’s will pass the budget the first time, everytime.

  2. With no real change at the VA here is another Turd that needs to be fully flushed.

    House VA committee chairman announces re-election bid

    February 8, 2018

    ” WASHINGTON — Republican Phil Roe, who represents Tennessee’s first district in Congress and is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will run for re-election this year, he confirmed Thursday.

    Roe, 72, made the announcement amid speculation he would retire. He cited his work on veterans’ issues as a reason he will run for a sixth term.”

    Full Article At:


    Things are not happening fast enough and his additional money for more VA Clinic attached to the Veterans Choice bailout shows just where his corrupt heart lives. And it is not looking out for Veterans.

    Fricken Con-Artist

  3. Another Corrupt Politician using money meant for Veterans to run a campaign for office on the backs of Veterans.


    Kobach sits on board of veterans group that isn’t using money to help veterans

    By Bryan Lowry
    Kansas City Star
    February 08, 2018

    “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach sits on the advisory board of a Missouri-based veterans’ group that received a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau this week.

    Kobach, a candidate for Kansas governor, is listed as a member of the advisory board for Veterans in Defense of Liberty, a Springfield-based nonprofit with a stated mission of upholding the Constitution.

    He said he would be reviewing the group’s finances after a Better Business Bureau report that found only a small fraction of the group’s money actually goes toward veterans’ issues.

    “This is the first I’ve heard of any suggestion that the monies raised by the charity aren’t going to the various causes for veterans,” Kobach said Thursday.

    The Better Business Bureau investigated the group after a Kansas man asked the business watchdog about a mailer he’d received asking for donations.

    “This Sweepstakes is part of our efforts to fix the broken and corrupt Veterans Affairs Department,” the mailer stated, according to the Better Business Bureau. “We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that our sick, wounded and disabled veterans are provided with the quality health care they need and deserve.”

    The mailer also stated that donations would not go toward paying a sweepstakes prize.

    However, the Better Business Bureau noted in a consumer warning Wednesday that “very little of the money it collects goes to veterans either.”

    The bureau, which reviews the integrity of charities and businesses, gave Veterans in Defense of Liberty an “F,” the lowest possible grade on its scale.

    A review of the group’s 2014 and 2015 filings with the Internal Revenue Service showed that 94 percent of the money donated to the group went to fundraisers, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau.”

    Full Article At:

  4. Hey Elf if you get a chance go and see this turd and throw a sandal at him for me.

    Deputy VA secretary to speak at St. Petersburg College forum
    Thomas G. Bowman, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    Times staff
    Published: February 8, 2018

    SEMINOLE — Tom Bowman, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, will be the featured speaker at the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions’ Spring Forum on Thursday at St. Petersburg College in Seminole.

    Bowman will discuss the VA’s efforts to modernize and transform the VA to meet veterans’ needs in the 21st century. Bowman will also join a panel of local VA officials and veterans advocates to discuss progress and challenges in this transformation. The forum will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Conference Center on SPC’s Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. The Tampa Bay Times is media co-sponsor.

  5. Oakbridge Inn to close, homeless vets must leave
    By Pat Maurer
    Feb. 8th 2018

    Oakbridge Inn, a facility that welcomes veterans and others in desperate need of a home, has been sold.

    The building has been owned by Karl Walls, himself a veteran, and was named Oakbridge based on the idea that the facility would be a strong bridge from homelessness to a permanent vibrant future.

    That future is not so vibrant now.

    The new owners, who have not yet been named, will be closing on the property March 1st.

    The residents, most still without a place to go, must move out by March 7th.

    Oakbridge Inn Executive Director Dave Homan is concerned for his residents. He said they found out about the sale “a couple of weeks ago. We are working to relocate as many as we can with the help of government and private agencies,” he said.

    He works at the facility with the help of Assistant Director Jon Turney, who is a retiree, and volunteers much of his time to the facility.

    Homan said roughly 45 residents currently live there. On June 30th, 2015, the facility opened as a non-profit transitional veterans’ living facility designed to provide much needed Veterans’ Administration services, support and a temporary home for former service men in need. It is the only facility of this type in Clare or Isabella Counties.

    Full Article At:

  6. ‘Hire the best and fire the worst’: Trump proposes biggest civil service change in 40 years

    Gregory Korte
    USA Today
    Feb. 8, 2018

    “WASHINGTON — President Trump will seek to “hire the best and fire the worst” federal government employees under the most ambitious proposal to overhaul the civil service in 40 years, officials said.

    The measures will be outlined in the budget plan that Trump will send to Congress Monday, said four Office of Management and Budget officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the budget hasn’t been released.

    Trump foreshadowed the proposal in a line in his State of the Union address last week: “Tonight, I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” he said.

    Trump is using the VA Accountability Act, which gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to fire and discipline workers, as a model. The White House says that law has resulted in the dismissal of 1,470 employees, the suspension of 443, demotions for 83 others last year.”

    Full Article At:

  7. Buffalo Fire responds to second-alarm fire at VA Hospital

    The Buffalo Fire Department responded to a second-alarm fire at the Veterans Affairs Hospital Thursday evening.
    Author: WGRZ
    Published: 10:39 PM EST February 8, 2018

    Buffalo firefighters responded to a second-alarm fire at the VA hospital after reports of flames coming from the roof.

    When firefighters arrived, they found a fire coming from a hatch on the roof of the 11th floor.

    Fire crews tell us hospital officials moved people as a safety precaution.

    No one was hurt.

    At this time there is no word on a cause for the fire, but fire investigators tell 2 On Your Side it is believed to be an accident.

  8. Marion VA Medical Center will not take action requested by Rep. Mike Bost

    Marilyn Halstead
    The Southern
    Feb 8, 2018 Updated 1 hr ago

    “MARION — In an email, a spokesperson for the VA Medical Center in Marion told The Southern Illinoisan that the HR director will neither fired nor transferred as demanded by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) and Jack Bergman, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in a letter dated Jan. 23.

    A spokeswoman for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs released the following statement: “The committee has not received an official response from the Department of Veterans Affairs in regards to whether it would replace or transfer the Marion, IL HR Director.”

    Bost has voiced concerns in the past about morale of personnel, lack of continuing education, no clear job descriptions and lack of follow-up to make sure job duties are performed, saying the problems endanger operations and can be traced to the HR director.

    The Marion VA Medical Center was investigated by the committee on oversight in early 2017 and several recommendations were made. Not all of the recommendations have been addressed.

    The Jan. 23 letter was a follow-up to a letter sent in June with a goal of curing long-term problems at the facility.

    The newest letter, dated Jan. 23, reads: “A persistent root cause of issues like prolonged difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, failures to track and enforce training standards, and the inability to discipline misbehaving employees is an absence of strong HR leadership and staff.”

    A spokesperson for Marion VAMC said in January that the facility Director Jo Ann Ginsburg has been working for several months to address all concerns and recommendations”

    Full Article At:


    A better title for the article would be keeping VA Health Care Deadly and Flipping the Bird to legislators.

  9. Trump jump-starts stalled veteran healthcare negotiations

    by Dan Caldwell
    Washington Examiner
    Feb 8, 2018

    “With the nation watching, President Trump used his first State of the Union speech to remind the public that important work remains to improve veterans’ healthcare. Specifically, Trump highlighted the need for veterans to have healthcare choices outside of VA medical facilities.

    The president’s comments will hopefully jump-start congressional negotiations over legislation reforming the VA’s choice and community care programs that stalled at the end of 2017. This comes on the heels of a series of policy recommendations from Trump to the House and Senate that urge Congress to adopt clearer standards for when and where a veteran can access care outside of the VA. These recommendations should be advanced in legislation that will expand healthcare choice for veterans at the VA and prevent VA bureaucrats from blocking veterans from receiving care outside of the VA.

    The nudge is needed because, despite nearing the four-year anniversary of the Phoenix VA scandal that exposed gross negligence and misconduct at the VA, there are still reports that veterans are not receiving the adequate care they deserve.”

    Full Article At:

    1. Related Article

      White House wants clearer rules, no caregiver benefits expansion in VA medical overhaul plan

      By: Leo Shane III
      Military Times
      January 24

      WASHINGTON — White House officials want Senate lawmakers to set clearer eligibility guidelines for veterans considering private-sector care and to drop their current plans for an expansion of veteran caregiver benefits, according to a memos sent to congressional leaders this week.

      They also want a plan to pay for the massive health care overhaul.

      The comments come as legislation to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs health care offerings sits stalled in the House and Senate due to a series of budget and eligibility concerns. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., had asked for the feedback from the White House in hopes it would serve as “a catalyst” to restart talks.

      The administration memo appears to more closely back a legislative proposal from Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., than bills advanced by the Senate committee or its House counterpart.

      It calls for clearer eligibility standards for veterans to seek care outside the VA system, which has become the center of the fight between the dueling proposals.

      The White House is backing direct standards for when veterans would be able to see private doctors at VA’s expense, which Moran has said will establish clear rules on who can and who can’t use community care programs. Other plans would allow VA officials more flexibility to interpret broad guidelines based on what they believe is best for patient care, which critics say amounts to limiting veterans’ choices.

      But in the memo, White House officials warned that inexact eligibility rules “could inadvertently expand eligibility” and program costs.

      President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to make private-health care more accessible to veterans currently dependent on VA medical centers, arguing that the federal program is too flawed to adequately meet their needs.”

      “VA Secretary David Shulkin has repeatedly pushed back against accusations that those policies amount to privatization of his department’s responsibilities, insisting that the responsible future of veterans health care is a mix of federal and civilian systems.

      But the cost of the Senate committee’s Caring for Our Veterans Act — which give veterans in the VA system two walk-in visits at any private-sector practice without co-pay, among other community care options — is estimated at $54 billion over five years.

      The White House memo requests offsets for those costs, something the House draft hasn’t dealt with yet either (that plan is expected to cost $39 billion over five years).

      One of the ways to lessen the cost of the Senate bill would be to drop a provision to extend benefits to caregivers of veterans from earlier wars, instead of the current policy of limiting them to those who served after Sept. 11, 2001.

      Committee members approved expanding monthly stipends and other support services to all caregivers of veterans, to be phased in over time, at a cost of $3.4 billion over the next five years. The White House memo states the administration “cannot support such a costly expansion” without broader debate among appropriators.

      The memo also notes concerns about language in the Senate bill that would require more information on opioid prescriptions to veterans (and “the burdens it would impose on community providers) and calls for limits on grandfathering current users of the VA Choice program (those in the system who live 40 miles from a VA facility could stay on).

      It’s unclear whether those changes, particularly the potentially expanded pool of veterans eligible for outside care programs, will upset Democrats who had already signed on to the measure. Several have said they worry about an expansion of outside care programs draining needed funds from other parts of VA.

      The office of Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont., released a statement said they are reviewing the White House memos. “He believes there is a lot of common ground and is encouraged by the open lines of communication.”

      Moran in a statement said he was encouraged by the White House memo.

      “Too many past examples to count have demonstrated that when Congress passes legislation that leaves any room for interpretation by the VA bureaucracy, our veterans are the ones who lose,” he said.

      “The feedback from the White House makes it clear that the administration supports standards, not guidelines — standards that VA must comply with to allow veterans access to community care.”

      Full Article At:


      It is important to note that the so called Care Giver expansion program was really the VA being able to further limit who is eligible.

      To quote one article on the subject

      “Testifying before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Tuesday, Shulkin said he wanted to limit eligibility for the program to the most severely injured and ill veterans in order to expand benefits to veterans of all eras without inflating costs.”

      That from:

      VA considers restricting eligibility for caregivers program
      Published: February 6, 2018


  10. U.S. Threatens to Dump Lenders From Veterans Loan Program

    By Joe Light
    ‎February‎ ‎08‎, ‎2018

    Nine lenders have been warned by the U.S. that they will be kicked out of a top mortgage program within months unless they find ways to stop costly rapid refinances of veterans’ loans.

    The warnings stem from a probe by Ginnie Mae, a government-owned corporation that makes mortgages cheaper by protecting bond investors against homeowner defaults. Ginnie Mae guarantees about $2 trillion in bonds containing loans backed by agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Some lenders have boosted their revenue through repeated, unneeded refinancing of veterans’ home loans, according to regulators. That process, called “churning,” lowers prices investors are willing to pay for bonds, effectively raising rates for veterans, first-time home buyers and others whose loans are included in Ginnie Mae-backed securities.

    Full Article At:

    1. I wonder when they will take a look at the servicers of VA loans to see how badly they are raping Veterans for fees and charges?

  11. New VA memo nixes plan to shift $460 million earmarked for veteran homelessness

    Published: February 8, 2018

    “WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a memorandum this week that officially reverses plans to shift millions of dollars from a VA account dedicated to combating veteran homelessness.

    Steve Young, VA deputy undersecretary for health, sent the memo Tuesday to all VA network directors, homeless coordinators and medical center directors. It states the VA will not reallocate funds this fiscal year earmarked for a veteran housing program known as HUD-VASH, in which the VA provides case management for veterans who receive housing vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    The memo eased concerns among collaborators who help veterans get shelter through HUD-VASH.

    Collaborators spoke out in December when they discovered VA Secretary David Shulkin planned to reallocate $460 million specifically geared toward the program into hospitals’ general-purpose accounts.”

    “Shulkin explained to Congress last month that his intent was to move funding from HUD-VASH into a general-purpose account to provide more flexibility for local leaders”

    Full Article At:

  12. White House targets VA’s deputy secretary as ‘a warning shot’ to agency’s leader

    By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
    Lisa Rein
    Josh Dawsey
    Washington Post
    February 8

    “The White House wants to remove the Department of Veterans Affairs’ second-in-command as a “warning shot” to VA Secretary David Shulkin, an Obama-era holdover who has frustrated the administration by networking with lawmakers who don’t support President Trump’s plan to overhaul the scandal-ridden health care system, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Deputy Secretary Thomas G. Bowman, who was appointed by Trump and confirmed in August, was said to be at odds with the administration’s plan to expand health care access for veterans through private providers, these people said. His departure would create another senior leadership vacancy at an agency whose highly publicized shortcomings Trump has promised to fix.

    A White House official said a plan to oust Bowman was in the works, but some of his admirers in Congress pushed back, saying Bowman’s job is safe.

    Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters referred a request for comment to VA. A spokesman for the agency, Curt Cashour, referred comment to the White House.”

    ““It’s a move to knock Shulkin down a peg or two,” said a White House official, who like others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. “The administration feels like Shulkin has been freewheeling a little too much. Rather than sticking with the administration’s position on the Veterans Choice Act, Shulkin has been working with senators who don’t agree with the White House provisions.”

    The Choice Act reimburses veterans who seek medical care outside of VA. There are two bills pending in Congress to amend it. Trump favors the one that would most aggressively expand options for veterans to see providers who are not on the government payroll, saying the beleaguered agency can’t adequately care for the 9 million veterans it serves.

    There has been animosity between VA and the White House over how far Choice should go in offering outside health care services, a shift that some on Capitol Hill and veterans service organizations fear could jeopardize federal funding for VA’s 1,200 facilities and the research its doctors perform”

    Full Article At:

  13. A couple of tid bits from the VAOIG September 2017 Highlights. Show just how badly they need to increase VA employee protection from those evil other VA employees.

    Assaults and Threats Made Against VA Employees

    Minneapolis, Minnesota, VAMC Medical Instrument Technician Charged with Indecent Exposure

    An OIG investigation resulted in charges alleging the defendant exposed himself to two different female coworkers on multiple occasions.

    Former St. Louis, Missouri, VAMC Employee Arrested for Interstate Violation of a Protection Order.

    An OIG investigation resulted in charges that allege the defendant made threats to another VA employee via text message stating that she was going to kill people at the St. Louis, MO, VAMC. The recipient of the threat subsequently obtained a protection order against the defendant. The investigation revealed that the defendant also later traveled interstate to engage in conduct that was against the protection order.

    A few more tid bits on the overall state of corruption in the nations deadliest Health Care System.

    1. Former VA Vendor Pleads Guilty to Blackmail

    A joint VA OIG and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation OIG investigation revealed that from April 2014 to April 2015 the defendant received purchase card payments of $125,549 for unnecessary maintenance work. During this time, the defendant kicked back an estimated $39,000 to a former St. Louis, MO, VA supervisor and an estimated $20,800 to his step-father, who at the time was also a VA employee. This investigation is ongoing and there is an anticipated loss to VA of $451,853.

    2. Former Leavenworth, Kansas, VA Medical Center Physician Assistant Convicted of Aggravated Criminal Sodomy, Aggravated Sexual Battery, and Sexual Battery

    An OIG and Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office investigation resulted in charges that the defendant committed sexual assaults during physical examinations. The defendant served as a primary care provider for the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Section that included 750 to 1,000 patients. During the investigation, the defendant confessed to over-prescribing narcotic medication as well as exceeding standard examination practices by administering unnecessary and excessive genital examinations to multiple male patients.


  14. Nothing is too good for our Nation’s Veterans, so we’ll give them nothing and they will love it!! Why are there so many Draft-Dodgers in the United States Government?

  15. 11) In Oregon stored at least one ounce of top shelf highly trimmed Indica bud.
    12) Stock up on Bic lighters.

  16. I don’t like Trump either but if their going another Government Shut Down it’s not going effect Veterans Benefits..

    1. It likely already affected benefits payments for disabled veterans in Vocational Rehabilitation where they did not receive their subsistence payments, on average around $1,500 per veteran, at a total of over 11,000 veterans.

      That is $16,500,000 in payments that were withheld from veterans deserving and needing that money to pay rent, food bills, etc.

      Those payments were all supposed to be made January 30 but were not made due to an undisclosed “glitch”. Approximately 33% of the veterans impacted have still not received payment despite agency promises to make such payments by Feb 6.

      If the fed shuts down tonight, guess who will not receive the money they are entitled to receive?

      1. You can rest assured that not -1- AFGE VA employee paycheck missed a beat and had there been ANY issue, I guarantee the comptroller would be called-in from a union sponsored donut eating contest to ensure not -1- VA employee’s paycheck had a hic-up.

  17. vote and help Trump drain the swamp. It’s fun to watch these swamp critters run for cover as the swamp water level gets lower. The new DOJ and FBI fixin up a place for em.

  18. Thank you.

    As far as these looming gov’t shutdowns…I am quite sick of our overpaid congress critters constantly kicking the can down the road and the new norm is a few weeks at a time at best. This is not a sustainable way to run a company let alone the U.S. of A.

    I heard on national news that in this proposed funding bill today, it has crucial military AND VA funding…more Choice $$$. Being held hostage again without the courtesy of calling it what it is without any Vaseline.

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