Shutdown: Veteran benefits customer support services would be suspended

(KTRE) - Most veteran benefits customer support services would be suspended construction could be delayed with the EPA not able to process permits and other approvals.

In a Memorandum to all VHA employees, the Under Secretary for Health outlined how the possible government shutdown would affect those employees.  Below is a copy of his Memorandum:

To :     All VHA Employees

1. While we remain hopeful that a government shutdown will not occur, this memorandum provides information about the suspension of certain federal government operations and what it will mean to you.

2. Although many federal agencies and offices will be affected by the shutdown caused by the absence of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 appropriation, I am pleased to inform you that because VHA has an advanced appropriation for FY 2011, virtually all VHA employees are considered to be in an "excepted" status. This means we will continue to provide quality health care services to our Veterans without interruption.

3. Because the Office of Research and Development (R&D) is funded under a different appropriation, a number of R&D employees do not fall under the "excepted" status, and are considered non-excepted. However, VHA has sufficient prior year funds to support all R&D employees for a period of approximately six weeks. Should a government shutdown extend beyond a six week period, affected R&D employees will be individually notified by their supervisor of their status.

4. This means that all VHA employees are expected to report to work and will receive uninterrupted pay and benefits.

5. Updates and information will be made available to employees throughout the process. A "Frequently Asked Questions" section to address many of your concerns can be found at Additional information may also be obtained at the Office of Personnel Management's web site Employees can also contact the VHA Call Center at 1-800-949-0002

6. Our primary concern is continuing to provide the quality health care services that our Veterans rely upon VA to deliver every day. You all are vital to the well-being of our Veterans and their families and that is why Secretary Eric Shinseki and I so greatly appreciate your continued commitment to our mission during this challenging time.



A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said the biggest issue still standing in the way of a budget agreement is the issue of spending cuts.

The two sides failed to reach agreement in talks in the middle of the night at the Capitol, as the government moves closer to a Friday midnight shutdown.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. Some information from AP was also used for this story.  All rights reserved.