Veterans' Benefits Should Be Safe For A Few Months

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Veterans across the country were especially anxious about how Wednesday night's budget agreement vote would play out because in just a few weeks their benefits could run out.

Recently the Department of Veterans Affairs said if the shutdown lasted until November 1st, they might not have enough money to pay benefits. That includes disability and education benefits for veterans.

Every week, John Sanders makes the trip from Perry, Oklahoma to his home away from home in a hotel room.

"I stay here usually Monday through Thursday to go to school,” John Sanders said.

He's studying engineering at WSU and he's determined to graduate but graduation hasn't been a certainty lately.

Sanders is a veteran. He served 15 years in the U.S. Army. He was wounded in service and suffers from PTSD, so he relies on disability and education benefits.

"It's my total income, I get nothing else,” Sanders said.

If he stopped getting his benefits, he wouldn't be able to pay for his classes or support his family.

"A lot of lives can be changed just overnight,” Sanders said.

At the American Legion on north Water Wednesday, more veterans were waiting to hear what tonight's vote would mean for them.

“It's a waiting game,” American Legion secretary and veteran Sherryl Determann said.

The new budget agreement only keeps the government open and allows them their bills until early next year. So the veterans we spoke with say they're not celebrating just yet and they're planning what to do, if this happens again next year.

"If it comes down to, 'lets put pressure on the government where we can,' that's what we're here for,” Determann said.

"I cannot depend on them. I used to be able to depend on them but they showed me that any time what I've earned can be taken away,” Sanders said.

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