The United States government shut-down is now 3 weeks old. Federal employees and contractors are feeling the impact of the shut-down. For those who are living close to their financial edge there is the potential for significant jeopardy of financial stress and possible devastation.
One-third of those employees are veterans. That is approximately 250,000 veterans who are dependent on their paychecks who will not receive them. This is a disproportionate number of individuals within the federal government who are a very vulnerable population.
According to the Union Veteran’s Council statement this week, “This shutdown has consequences that go beyond loss of pay. Financial instability is one of the main causes of suicides among the veterans’ community. These hard-working men and women who sacrificed so much for their country should not have their families held hostage by lawmakers that cannot relate to living paycheck to paycheck.”
The significant number of veterans with PTSD are totally dependent on their check to live are at tremendous risk. Also there are veterans who are disabled by injury or other conditions that have been caused by adversity that has happened during their military experience. Many of these men and women are unable to work and desperately need their paychecks and benefits.
I recognize that we are polarized on so many issues regarding this next budget but those who have served our country should not be penalized. Their potential for suicide and other mental health conditions are extremely high. To me this is a serious consequence that needs to be addressed immediately. I am quite sure that if our leadership is creative they can focus exclusively on our veterans and find ways to reopen this aspect of our government so that this travesty does not continue.
No political agenda should put to risk the health and well-being of those who have faithfully served our country. Particularly for those who are unable to work and are at high risk, there should be an exception in order to guarantee that they are paid, that their benefits are intact and that they will not experience any further duress than they have already experienced as a result of their valiant service to our country. I urge our national leadership to make exceptions and release the funding to pay our veterans. We should not be causing more deaths and duress to their lives than they have already experienced!