The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Vets’ benefits hurt by delays from shutdown

By Anderson Colemon/tr news editor

Congress reached a debt deal Oct. 16 that reopened the government and gave veterans back their benefits, but that didn’t mean veterans were not affected by the two-week shutdown.

It came with furloughed workers and the halt of veterans’ benefits along with the closing of government agencies and national parks among others.

Some TCC veterans were affected by the shutdown such as members of TCC’s veterans clubs. TR veterans club vice president Kristina Youngblood said the shutdown had affected her financially.

“I’m in the reserves, and I went to drill over the weekend and haven’t been paid, so that affected everything,” she said. “As far as my tuition, I’m not affected because it’s already been paid, but I do know that some of the veterans coming in that haven’t got all that started are hesitant of starting classes.”

Services to veterans impacted by the lapse were the VA call centers and hotlines. This included human resources for veteran job applicants.

TCC veterans who needed assistance dealing with VetSuccess would originally call Sarah Ary or William Cobb. But due to the shutdown, callers would instead receive a voicemail stating that because of the lapses of the 2014 fiscal year, Ary and Cobb could not respond until a bill were passed and operations were resumed.

However, NE veterans club president Cole Lyle, a Marine Corps reservist and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said he has “many feelings” about the shutdown.

“My drill was suspended until the government reopened, and I only received benefits for education from the VA, which still paid out,” he said. “I think as citizens of this country, we all need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.”

Lyle said he believes the government’s only job in our lives is to “provide for the common defense and general welfare” of the people.

“I believe in personal liberty, hard work, sacrifice and service to your fellow man. So when presidents and legislatures, past and present, introduce laws like the Affordable Care Act, Medicare D, the Patriot Act, etc., for the greater cause of expanding the power of the federal government and impeding on the lives of the American people, seems more like all they care about is amassing more power for themselves, leaving the people in their wake,” Lyle said.

TR veterans club president Robert Tracy said the shutdown is nothing more than the “powers that be” flexing their proverbial muscle.

“One of the major concerns I had with the shutdown was the undue stress that was caused to the veterans and their families in response to the agreement deadlines,” Tracy said. “It was very stressful for veterans not knowing if they will get their paychecks, retirement checks or compensation checks. When you are forced to live on minimal income, the worst thing you can do is threaten to remove it.”

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