The government shutdown is decimating federal services for military veterans and their families as it stretches on into a second week.
Many veterans rely on the wide range of benefits administered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, which is grinding to a halt as a result of the shutdown, removing a critical safety net. The VA was forced last week to send home 7,800 benefits administration workers (half of whom are veterans themselves) — and shut down public access to its 58 regional offices. The offices are still processing benefit claims behind the closed doors and away from the unanswered phones, but it’s slow going with limited resources. After seven months of steadily reducing its claims backlog, the department has seen a reversal in the past week, and the backlog is growing again.
Read the rest at Al Jazeera America: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/12/veterans-feel-shutdownssting.html