Impact of possible lapse in appropriations on VA services

Shut Down headerAs you are likely aware, annual funding for the federal government expires Monday, Sept. 30. The President, the Secretary and his administration strongly believe that a lapse in appropriations should not occur.

There is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations, and the administration is willing to work with Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution to fund critical government operations and allow Congress the time to complete the full year 2014 appropriations.

However, at this time, prudent management requires that the government plan for the possibility of a lapse and Office of Management and Budget is working with VA and other agencies to take appropriate action. This planning is consistent with what was done in previous instances where a potential lapse in appropriations was approaching.

In the event there is a lapse, VA has produced a 2-page information sheet, the Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown, which summarizes all of the services that will be available and those that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.

As the Veterans Health Administration is forward-funded, VA will still be able to provide some services. All VA medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational including inpatient/outpatient care, prescriptions, surgery, dental treatment, extended care, mental health care, nursing home care, special health care services for women Veterans and Vet centers.

Additional services that will be available include:

  • Military sexual trauma counseling
  • Readjustment counseling services
  • Veterans Crisis Line
  • Insurance processing
  • Home loan processing
  • My HealtheVet – all services
  • Education benefits claims will be processed
  • Vocational rehabilitation payments will be processed
  • Compensation and pension claims will be processed
  • Acquisitions Logistics Center will accept and fill prosthetics supply orders
  • Office of Small and Disadvantaged Small Businesses will be open

Payments to be made Oct. 1 include disability and compensation, and education benefits payments.

Interments in national cemeteries will continue, but may be on a reduced schedule. Contact the National Cemetery Administration’s scheduling office at 1-800-535-1117 for more information. Also, NCA will process applications for headstones, markers and medallions and will notify the Veterans Benefits Administration of deaths for benefit actions.

All VBA call centers, except for education, will be operational. View the graphic to the rightfor a list of all operational national phone numbers for VA services.

There are many VA services which will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations. Closed contact centers include the VBA Educational Call Center, the Inspector General Hotline, and Consumer Affairs contact phone and email.

For a full list of suspended national phone numbers, please see the guide. Also, congressional liaison Veterans queries are suspended and the human resources office will not process new job applications.

Finally, know that if there is a lapse, updates to all websites and social media channels will be intermittent. Keep the guide at hand in case you need to call for help, or have questions.

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One Comment to “Impact of possible lapse in appropriations on VA services”

  1. jack says:

    Very nice article. Thanks