Benefits on hold for veterans

Injuries incurred by service members are cover...
Injuries incurred by service members are covered by the Veteran Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the partial government shutdown continues into October, veterans will not see benefits on the first of November, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinski, in a testimony in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

As of Oct. 1, backlogged disability claims have increased by 2,000 people, according to the VA.

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With VA employees being furloughed, disability checks may come in later than usual.

CSU Veterans receiving tuition assistance or the GI bill should also be receiving FASFA, according to Marc Barker, manager of veterans benefits at CSU. FAFSA can assist veterans with their hardships. All students not enrolled in both veteran and federal benefit programs should do so immediately via the student financial aid office because FAFSA can help pick up the slack when military benefits do not come through.

Students are not alone in this battle.

“It’s a case by case basis,” Barker said. “If a veteran needs $1,000 or less for rent or other important things, and their benefits aren’t coming in — they can get help. The veterans benefits office or the Adult Learner Veteran Student Center (ALVS) will guide them through the proper channels. If the hardship is more than $1,000 then FAFSA will help.”

The money that may not come through for veterans is not for tuition, it is for housing — it is money that helps veterans stay afloat while they attend college.

If a student cannot pay for their rent, food or gas, it is going to be difficult maintaining their academics when they are struggling outside of school.

“We’re really worried this money may not come in Nov. 1,” said Barker. “We understand what vets are going through right now, keeping them in school is what we are here to help with.”

There are other worries as well. On top of possibly not receiving housing benefits, veterans like Barker who are expecting disability benefits may not see that money come November.

“The smartest thing students could do is save up just in case benefits and disability don’t come through,” Barker said.

Collegian Reporter Scott Fromberg can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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