VA: Most Employees to Stay On, But Shutdown Will Halt Some Services

By Leo Shane III Stars and Stripes WASHINGTON — More than 95 percent of Veterans Affairs employees would not be furloughed if a government shutdown happens, but the move could still halt some key services for veterans. In a series of memos Friday, VA officials said that only about 14,000 of the department’s 332,000-plus employees would be sent home in the event of a shutdown. More than half of those would come from the Veterans Benefits Administration, which could have an effect on the department’s efforts to reduce the claims backlog. Previous media reports had put the number of potential furloughs for the department at more than 60,000, but VA officials said advanced appropriations legislation passed by Congress in 2009 will allow thousands of workers to stay on the job. The advanced funds mean about $52 billion of the VA’s requested fiscal 2014 budget will be available to the department on Oct. 1, even without a new budget deal. In addition, workers needed for “the protection of life and property” will be required to stay on the job. That covers a long list of health and crisis prevention employees within the agency. Read Article Here