Veterans frustrated by government shutdown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When it comes to the government shutdown, there's a lot of anger and frustration coming from the men and woman of the military, many of whom suffered injuries in the line of duty.

"I believe all the politicians, representatives of the House and Senate should all be fired, every one of them," Vietnam war veteran Roland Chartrand said.

Chartrand relies on disability compensation for a back injury, but if the partial federal government shutdown continues, 3.8 million veterans like him won't get a check.

"That's because the House and representatives aren't doing their job," Chartrand said. "If they were doing their job, they would be taking care of this business."

Six-billion dollars in veterans disability pay could be on the chopping block. Union representatives for veterans and federal employees are already preparing for financial disaster.

"Right now we are having special programs to get our food banks involved," said Muriel Newman, of the American Federation of Government Employees. "We're going to credit unions and asking them, 'Can you extend your services for veterans?' We've contacted utility companies to ask them, 'Would you please give them a grace period?'"

Newman said veterans are worried about their medications, and regular clinic appointments. Jacksonville's veterans services office at City Hall said local veterans are having a hard time reaching the appropriate people in Washington D.C.

"When they make a phone call, we're having longer wait times to get that information," said Victor Guillery, director of Veterans Affairs in Jacksonville. "Or in some cases, the person at the other end of the phone has been furloughed. That certainly will delay the ultimate answer."

Guillery said America treats its veterans will have huge implications on other veterans in the future who are considering entering the armed forces.

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