Veterans react to government shutdown effects on compensation, education

POSTED: 4:38 PM Oct 04 2013   UPDATED: 5:47 PM Oct 04 2013
JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Wade Finch is a disabled Navy veteran who relies on VA benefits for education here at Coastal Carolina Community College, and to support his family.

"It's more than just trying to further our future," Finch said. "It's feeding our families for tomorrow. I've got a wife and two kids I have to provide for."

With the government shutdown several days in and no word on a resolution, he's becoming concerned.

"They want to not figure something out and work together," Finch said. "Now we're the ones that can't pay the bills."

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that there's enough money to fund claims in compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation through the end of this month. But the payments could stop if Congress's doors are closed for much longer.

"Without these benefits, myself and countless other veterans wouldn't be able to go get their education, wouldn't be able to find better jobs to support their family," said Dougles Lawson, a disabled Marine and Army veteran.

Lawson hopes to get his Master's degree to pursue radiology. If the payments stop, Finch says that means job searching -- something he says could be an impossible task for many veterans.

"Not all of us came back with everything attached, or having the mental ability to process things properly," Finch said. "There's a lot of folks out there that can't go put an application in somewhere."

For more information on what services are and aren't affected by the shutdown, visit http://www.va.gov/.