Veterans worried in wake of government shutdown

8:14 PM, Oct 10, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- James Thornton spent four years in the Marine Reserves and 20 years in the U.S. Army. The shutdown may stop payment to both his disability and military retirement benefits. Like many veterans, he's worried.

"I'm raising three grandchildren right now who live with me, and my wife and I still have to pay rent and put groceries on the table," Thornton says.

Elvis Hawkins spent seven years in the Army and depends on his disability check each month.

"It's a distraction for paying my bills because they need to be paid in a timely manner, and the longer they delay, the more it's going to hurt my family," Hawkins says.

Tracy Rigg takes care of her father, who was also a veteran.

"The main part of our income is my dad's money, and, if we don't get it, we're homeless. We have no money to pay our bills or food," Rigg says.

One thing they don't have to worry about is health care. The Cleveland VA hospital is not affected by the shutdown.  

"We are still providing medical services, surgical services, mental health services, so there's really been no significant impact whatsoever in the services we provide for our veterans. It's essentially business as usual," says VA Chief of Staff Dr. Murray Altose.

The health portion under the Veterans Administration is fully funded through 2014.

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