This week, the VA announced that 7,800 support staff members are being furloughed at Regional Offices around the country.
“Sending home 8,000 VA workers will only further delay benefits and services to our nation’s veterans,” said Thompson.
“As a veteran myself, I understand the importance of VA services.
allowing VSOs to continue working during the shutdown, we can help make
sure our veterans get the benefits they’ve earned and services they
need,” he said.
VSOs provide valuable volunteer assistance to veterans and their families, helping veterans maneuver the VA system and navigate the complex claims application process. VSO representatives often work in VA regional offices, acting as liaisons between veterans and VA employees and providing guidance and expertise to claims processors.
The government shutdown has prevented VSOs from providing their expert volunteer service at VA Regional Offices, despite the fact that these are completely volunteer organizations, operating at no expense to the federal government.
The halt in funding for the VA has already led to claims processing delays for 1,400 veterans per day. Before the shutdown, employees who process benefits claims had been working overtime to help reduce the backlog, but the government shutdown has led to an elimination of overtime. Without action, the already large backlog of disability claims stands to increase dramatically.The Veterans Services Support Act is cosponsored by Rep. Walter Jones, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Jerry McNerney, and Rep. Rush Holt.