Government Shutdown Closes Waco VA Office - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Government Shutdown Closes Waco VA Office

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As of Tuesday, no one is answering the phones at Waco's VA Regional Office.

The government shutdown is forcing furloughs of 7,000 employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Of the 7,000 furloughed employees, 297 are employed with the VBA in Waco.

"All public access to VBA regional offices and facilities have been suspended," said Veterans Affairs Department spokeswoman Victoria Dillon.

According to OPA Regional Director Ozzie Garza, Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October.

"Starting Tuesday, October 8, over 7,000 VBA employees will be put into furlough status, consistent with VA's contingency plan," Garza said in a statement released Tuesday. "Moreover, all public access to VBA regional offices and facilities will be suspended starting Tuesday, October 8 due to a lack of funds."

We attempted to contact Waco VA Spokesman Tom Morley but to no avail.

Morley's voicemail greeting is as follows, "You've reached the voicemail for Tom Morley. Due to the lapse in fiscal year 2014 appropriations, I will be unable to respond until an appropriations bill is passed and operations are resumed. I sincerely regret any inconvenience."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, responded to the shutdown's impact on the Waco VA office in a statement to KCEN HD news. 

"Our veterans deserve the best in care, and right now they're being denied critical services because the President is choosing politics over their well-being. It's time for the President to roll up his sleeves, come to the table and be willing to talk to Republicans to solve this,"said Cornyn. 

It's important to note that Veterans can still get health care and apply for benefits online.

Important information regarding enrollment can be found at the following web links:

Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown:

http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Field_Guide_20130927.pdf

Appropriations Lapse Contingency Plan:

http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/VA_Contingency_Plan_Document_20130927.pdf

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