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Veterans could feel impact if U.S. government shutdown lingers

Published On: Oct 02 2013 10:28:06 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 02 2013 10:35:35 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

We are only days into the government shutdown, but if it continues long enough, benefits for veterans could be cut. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is saying when funding is exhausted, the government could suspend claims, processing and payments. But it all depends on how long this shutdown will last.

We spoke to a local veteran, Randy Kemp. He was in the Army for 22 years and says he's been in this same situation before. He was in the military when the government shut down in 1995.

"There was a concern that we wouldn't get paid, that active duty wouldn't get paid," said Kemp.

It lasted for 21 days and back then congress was wrestling with similar issues around the budget.

On the campus of MSU there is a veterans support center. University spokesperson Tracy Ellig tells us there are about 500 veterans on campus and they have closely followed the details of this shutdown.

"There would be a slowdown in checks that veterans receive, they will still get them, but they may not get them on the same schedule they had planned," said Ellig.

Ellig also says they are prepared for what is next.

"Should payments from the federal government be delayed, we can offer them short-term, no-interest loans that can cover their expenses," said Ellig.

Kemp says he is prepared as we head into the third day of this shutdown. He is also staying positive, and has faith congress will eventually make a deal before he has to feel the impact.

"I have always planned ahead and have been ready to take care of my family. I have always tried to put money back. We will recover from this also, that is my philosophy," said Kemp.