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Veterans’ field guide to government shutdown

By Raymond Taylor

SUN Columnist

Following are the services not impacted by a potential lapse in appropriations.

• Military Sexual Trauma Counseling.

• Readjustment Counseling Services (Vet Centers).

• Interments in National Cemeteries will continue, but may be on a reduced schedule. Contact NCA’s schedulingoffice at 1-800-535-1117

• My HealtheVet — all services.

• NCA will process applications for headstones, markers, medallions .

• Insurance processing.

• Home Loan processing.

• NCA will notify VBA of death for benefit actions.

• VBA Call Centers will be operational except for education.

• Acquisitions Logistics Center will accept and fill prosthetics supply orders.

• Office of Small and Disadvantaged Small Businesses.

• Veterans Crisis Line.

• Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted.

All VA medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational, including:

1. Inpatient Care.

2. Outpatient Care.

3. Prescriptions.

4. Surgeries.

5. Dental Treatment.

6. Extended Care.

7. Mental Health Care.

8. Nursing Home Care.

9. Special Health Care Services for Women Veterans.

10. Vet Centers.

Operational national phone numbers for veterans:

• VA National Call Center: 1-800-827-1000.

• All VA Medical Facilities & Services: (411 or http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=1 ).

• Coaching into Care Call Center for Family Members of Veterans: 1-888-823-7458.

• Debt Management Center: (Collection of Non-Medical Debts): 1-800-827-0648.

• Homeless Prevention Line: 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).

• Home Loans: 1-888-244-6711.

• Insurance: 1-800-669-8477.

• Mammography Helpline: 1-888-492-7844.

• Meds by Mail:1-888-385-0235 or 1-866-229-7389.

• National Caregiver Support Line: 1-855-260-3274.

• NCA’s Scheduling Office:’1-800-535-1117.

• Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

• Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636).

• Federal Service for the Deaf: 711.

• Vet Center Combat Call Center: 1-877-WAR-VETS.

• Discrimination: 1-888-737-3361.

• Denver Acquisition and Logistics Center: 1-303-273-6200.

• Health Benefits Customer Service: 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

• CHAMPVA: 1-800-733-8387.

• Children of Women Vietnam Veterans; Foreign Medical Program; Spina Bifida Health Care Program: 1-877-345-8179 (or) 1-888-820-1756.

Services impacted by potential lapse

• Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted.

• VBA Regional Offices public contact services will not be available.

• No decisions on claims appeals or motions will be issued by the Board of Veterans Appeals.

• Freedom of Information Act queries will not be processed.

• Privacy Act requests will not be processed.

• VA’s homepage (www.va.gov) will be updated intermittently.

• VA’s main and hospital Social Media Web sites will be updated intermittently (Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.).

• Recruiting and hiring of Veteran job applicants will cease with the exception of the Veterans Health.

Administration:

• Presidential Memorial certificates will not be processed.

• Interments at National Cemeteries will be conducted on a reduced schedule.

• Overseas Military coordinator operations will be suspended.

• VA Secretary correspondence with Veterans and VSOs suspended.

• Outreach and public awareness activities.

• VetSuccess on Campus suspended.

• Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Counseling will be limited.

• VBA will not be able to continue overtime for claims processors.

• Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments suspended when available funding is exhausted.

Suspended national phone numbers:

• Education Benefits: 1-888-442-4551.

• Consumer Affairs: 202-461-7402.

• Inspector General Hotline: 1-800-488-8244.

• Special Issues: Gulf War/Agent Orange/Project SHAD/Mustard Agents and

Lewisite/Ionizing Radiation 1-800-749-8387.

• Status of Headstones and Markers: 1-800-697-6947.

• Whistle Blower Reprisal: 1-800-872-9855.

VA call centers and hotlines will cease to function, including:

1. VBA Education Call Center 1-888-442-4551.

2. Inspector General Hotline suspended 1-800-488-8244.

3. Consumer Affairs (consumeraffairs@va.gov; VA’s home page “Contact Us” function and 202-461-7402 will be suspended).

4. Congressional Liaison Veterans queries suspended.

Further information

For further Information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd.

I will be out of the office on the following days for regular scheduled meetings:

• Vets4Vets: Tuesday mornings, 0900-1200.

• Arboles Community Center, first and third Thursdays. Back around 1400.

• Pagosa Outreach Connection, 0830 to 1000 every Thursday.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590, and e-mail is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This story was posted on October 10, 2013.