Budget Woes In Washington Threaten VA Benefits - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Budget Woes In Washington Threaten VA Benefits

Posted: Updated:

A perfect storm of budget woes in Washington could strip our veterans of their benefits.

Both the ongoing government shutdown and the looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling are now major players.

Wounded warriors bear the burdens of wars past and present, but those who depend on VA disability benefits don't know right now how long they can.

"That's a travesty, our government should be down on their knees and thanking these soldiers," said Army National Guard Veteran Helen Nelson.

She and her husband, an Army Combat Veteran on 100 percent disability, depend on his disability check.

"We live pretty much still paycheck to paycheck, so if I don't receive my social security at the end of the month, my husband doesn't receive his disability or his military pay, we'll be down pretty much next to nothing," Helen said.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told lawmakers at a Veteran Affairs hearing Wednesday that if the government shutdown lasts through the month, millions will be left without disability compensation.

"Here's what I'm facing, I didn't know there was going to be a shutdown. I had no idea that this was intended," Shinseki said.

Meanwhile, if lawmakers don't agree on raising the debt limit by October 17, the government will lose a third of its spending money, possibly cutting into a long list of payments, including VA benefits.

"It's going to hurt us, it's going to hurt us economically, it's going to hurt us socially," said Jeff Carter, an Army Veteran.

The Wounded Warrior project released a statement Wednesday saying it is outraged that wounded service members could lose their benefits.

Part of it says, "These warriors have already sacrificed so much, it is unfathomable and unacceptable to ask them to bear any further burdens. It is the fundamental responsibility of the government to pay these service members their benefits, and any disruption to those payments is shameful."

VFW National Commander in Chief Bill Thien released a statement Thursday saying, "Those who have borne the burden of battle are now endangered by the very political system they vowed to protect. If our veterans had acted similarly while in uniform, there is a good chance that we would now be flying a flag of a different color."

Helen says she feels left behind.

"I don't understand, I don't understand, I feel like I've been turned on. Our veterans have been turned on," she said.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstamas@kcentv.com

Photographer: Chris Buford cbuford@kcentv.com

  • Latest NewsMore>>

  • SpaceX Rocket Explodes Over McGregor Facilities

    SpaceX Rocket Explodes Over McGregor Facilities

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:10 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:10:28 GMT
    There were reports of a rocket exploding over the SpaceX early Friday afternoon. McGregor Chief of Police Steve Foster said this was an isolated incident and SpaceX was dealing with the incident internally. Reports of a grasshopperMore >>
    There were reports of a rocket exploding over the SpaceX early Friday afternoon. McGregor Chief of Police Steve Foster said this was an isolated incident and SpaceX was dealing with the incident internally. Reports of a grasshopper More >>
  • Multiple Agencies Fighting Brush Fire in Gholson

    Multiple Agencies Fighting Brush Fire in Gholson

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:52:33 GMT
    (GHOLSON) -- Firefighters from multiple agencies are battling a brush fire in Gholson, northeast of Waco. It's off Pleasant Road.The fire departments involved include Waco, Elmont, West and Ross volunteer firefighters. We're told they are calling for aid because of the heat.This story will be updated as we get more information.More >>
    (GHOLSON) -- Firefighters from multiple agencies are battling a brush fire in Gholson, northeast of Waco. It's off Pleasant Road.The fire departments involved include Waco, Elmont, West and Ross volunteer firefighters. We're told they are calling for aid because of the heat.This story will be updated as we get more information.More >>
  • Soldiers and Families Win School Supplies, Mingle with Others Facing Challenges

    Soldiers and Families Win School Supplies, Mingle with Others Facing Challenges

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:16:40 GMT
    (KCEN) Soldiers on post are getting ready for back to school, and Friday some had a chance to win school supplies. It was a get-together for the Warrior Transition Unit, a unit for wounded, ill, and injured soldiers.More >>
    (KCEN) Soldiers on post are getting ready for back to school, and Friday some had a chance to win school supplies. It was a get-together for the Warrior Transition Unit, a unit for wounded, ill, and injured soldiers.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KCEN. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.