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Shutdown: Disability Payments for Veterans Unsure

6:21 PM, Oct 9, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) --  With the shutdown again rolling into another day, the status of military benefits for thousands of Midlands veterans is called into question.

Many aren't sure whether or not they will receive disability benefits if the government shutdown, which began Oct. 1, continues.

"If they cut off my benefits, my disability, then I'll be stuck," said Marilyn Rosario, a military veteran whom served in the U.S. Army from 1981-1988. "I'll be out on the street."

Rosario's service was spent as part of an Army team serving around the world.

"It was good," said Rosario. "We traveled to Honduras, Bolivia, giving aid, and I was the translator because I'm bilingual."

Rosario said she relies on about $1,300 each month in military disability payments, but with the shutdown continuing, she isn't sure how she'll be able to provide for her daughters and grandchildren.

"I'm going to lose my apartment and everything else because I have no [sic] other income," Rosario said. "I've been looking for a job since 2010, but nobody hires."

Rosario is just one of more than 58,000 veterans in the Midlands receiving some form of payment after their service, according to information put out by the Veterans Administration.

"I did my part for the military, for our government, for our county," said Rosario. "I mean, it may not have been at war, but I served."

Rosario isn't sure if her payments will continue, but when you call the Columbia regional office, because of furloughs, you're referred to a "1-800" number.

Going into the office may not be any easier. A sign posted at the door of the office referred visitors to that same number.

"I won't know until the first (of November)," said William Jennings, referring to the date at which disability checks are usually doled out to military veterans.

Jennings said he drove more than 80 miles from Union, SC to file paperwork with the office, but only learned it was closed once he arrived.

"I'm thinking there's no interruption, that's what I understand. But I don't know," Jennings said.

When asked what he would do after arriving to find the office closed, Jennings' answer was simple.

"Go back home, I guess."

Officials with the U.S. Veterans Administration say they are unsure whether some veterans will keep receiving benefits if the shutdown continues.

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