Posted 10 months ago on Oct. 9, 2013, 12:21 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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If the shutdown doesn't end soon, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department won't be able to ensure that checks go out on Nov. 1 for 5.18 million beneficiaries, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told House Veterans' Affairs Committee. That amounts to $6.25 billion in payments that VA beneficiaries are expecting.
Already the VA has furloughed more than 7,800 employees, Shinseki, half of whom are veterans. While the VA has in the last six months made progress on reducing its disability claims backlog, the shutdown has reversed that progress, with the number of backlogged claims increasing by 2,000 since Oct. 1.
"We've lost ground we fought hard to take," said Shinseki, who at multiple points in his testimony to Congress used military analogies to explain the challenges his department is facing.