Local Veterans React to Potential Loss of Benefits

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 10/10/2013 6:34 pm
Alan Syler, a local veteran, says, "We stepped up when they wanted us, they need to step up when we need them!"

Powerful words from a disabled veteran who will not receive any benefits come November 1st if the government is still shutdown.

Syler adds, "It's disgusting."

Another veteran, Tommy Thomas, compares the shutdown to a game played by those on Capitol Hill.

Thomas adds, "Those people that died in Vietnam. It was not a game to them. THey gave their lives for a better America. And this is what they got?"

$6 billion dollars worth of benefits are at stake.

Syler says, "One thing that worries me about the vets is that the suicide rate is so high."

Syler volunteers at the VA clinic in Chattanooga, which is still open for now, but fears counseling for those suicidal could come to an end.

Syler adds, "It's amazing how it's going to impact some of these guys."

Most disabled veterans live check to check.

If the shutdown continues for three more weeks, some will need to worry about their next meal.

Thomas says, "If they had to live what we live on, they'd make changes."

House Republicans passed a bill last week to fund the VA, but Senate Democrats, who want the whole government reopened, blocked it.

That leaves Thomas with these words.

"Everything that they're doing, if they had a conscious, they would not be doing it."

Soon after that emotional statement Thomas just had to walk away.

We're told even before the government shutdown, The Department of Veteran affairs was behind in some $195,000 claims.
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