Government shutdown: Which veterans’ benefits may, may not be affected

(NEXSTAR) — As lawmakers continue to search for a deal that will help avoid the impending government shutdown, it’s hard for many Americans not to worry about their federal benefits.

Congress has until Sept. 30 to strike a deal to avoid the shutdown. While Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said Americans should not expect a shutdown, it’s not clear that an agreement will be reached in time.

When it comes to benefits like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, those payments will remain unaffected if there is a government shutdown because they receive funding separately.

But what about veterans’ benefits?

Moderate Republicans plot last-ditch shutdown plan with Democrats

Many of the most crucial benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs will still be available.

During a press conference Friday, Secretary Denis McDonough said Veterans Affairs is “working very diligently in preparation for a lapse in funding.”

“…In the case of a shutdown, there would be no impact on Veteran healthcare; burials would continue at VA national cemeteries; VA would continue to process and deliver benefits to Veterans, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits; and the Board will continue to process appeals,” McDonough explained.

He added, however, that certain resources would be restricted. The department wouldn’t be able to conduct outreach to veterans, regional offices would be closed, and operations like career counseling, transition assistance, and cemetery grounds maintenance would be unavailable.

“So, this is why I’ve been saying that we need a full year appropriation – especially at a time when we’re providing more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before – and that’s why we’ve been so supportive of the bipartisan budget agreement that was struck several months ago,” McDonough added.

Other services deemed essential — like border protection, the U.S. Postal Service, air traffic control, and federal law enforcement — would also remain intact, should there be a government shutdown.

As of Monday night, some moderate GOP lawmakers were said to be plotting a path toward potentially working with Democrats to fund the government beyond the Sept. 30 deadline and combat a shutdown.

This comes as the Senate is set to unveil a short-term government funding stopgap to dodge a shutdown. The Senate is scheduled to vote on a motion to end debate on the motion to proceed to the legislative vehicle for the funding stopgap Tuesday night.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, Mychael Schnell, and Emily Brooks contributed to this report.

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