If the shutdown continues in the coming weeks the Veterans Affairs Department will not be able to assure delivery of VA benefit checks to more than 5.18 million beneficiaries on Nov. 1, said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki during an Oct. 9 House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. That includes pension payments for about 315,000 veterans and for more than 200,000 surviving spouses and dependents, he said.
Children who had deployed parents experienced more problems in school and conflicts with families and peers than the national average and the longer the parent was deployed, the bigger the impact on the child, said Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, at an Oct. 1 event.
The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act (H.R. 3223) applies to employees furloughed as a result of the government shutdown, so it wouldn't affect those who may be furloughed due to sequestration. Federal workers would receive their back pay after the shutdown ends. The bill does not cover contractors.
The way the Defense Department estimates the cost of switching from contractors to government employees has come under new criticism from the Government Accountability Office. Whether government employees or private contractors ultimately cost the government less has long been a subject of debate, and past attempts to settle the matter have faced scrutiny for flaws in their methods and assumptions.
"Management has been allowed to harass, intimidate, oppress, stalk, discipline, ostracize, monitor and make my life as miserable as possible for the last 7 years," said Sarah Carver, a senior case technician at the SSA's regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Huntington, W.V., before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The Defense Department will recall most of its civilian workforce that was furloughed due to the government shutdown, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an Oct. 5 statement. Hagel gained authority through a recent law that allows him to pay civilian personnel who provide support to the Armed Forces, he said.
Sequestration has forced the Army to defer refurbishment of 800 vehicles, 2,000 weapons, 32 helicopters and 10,000 pieces of communication gear returned from combat zones in 2013, or $1.7 billion of the planned $4 billion equipment reset, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics told Congress last week.
The Defense Department doesn't yet know how a law President Obama signed Monday to pay military and civilain workers during the shutdown will affect civilian DoD workers who were furloughed. The law (H.R. 3210) gives Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel the authority to provide pay to the civilian personnel who Hagel determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces. The law does not set a dollar amount
Less than 2 percent of National Science Foundation personnel qualified as essential enough to continue working during the government shutdown under the agency's contingency plan. Within the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has retained 32 percent of its staff.
If the government shutdown last more than a few weeks, veterans might not get their disability and pension benefits, says a Sept. 30 statement from Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).