On Oct. 16, the President signed the bill that averted the default crisis and ended the 16-day partial government shutdown. According to the terms of the bill, the debt cushion now extends through Feb. 7, with current spending levels being authorized through Jan. 15.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Services website reports that “The Continuing Resolution signed by the President on Oct.17 allows you [all DoD Civilian employees] to receive pay for time worked or spent in a furlough status from Oct. 1 to the present. On your next regular payday, expect to receive pay for BOTH the pay period ending Oct. 19 and retroactive pay for the pay period ending Oct. 5, if all personnel and time and attendance transactions are completed.”
Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) regional offices re-opened their doors on Thursday, 17 OCT to resume services and according to Secretary of VA Eric Shinseki, “November 1 benefit checks will go out to approximately 5 million veterans and other beneficiaries as scheduled.”
More than 1,600 Veterans Benefits Specialists were furloughed during the government shutdown and now many veterans who had been scheduled for disability hearings during those 16 days, after waiting months and years, some up to five years, are back in the queue with no determined reschedule date for their hearing.
USA Today reported that the cost of the shutdown was substantial; “Estimates of the toll range from $12 billion to $24 billion for the U.S. economy, or as much as $1.5 billion per day, and as many as 250,000 jobs.”
According to economist Joel Naroff, “The shutdown trimmed fourth-quarter growth by 20 percent.”
Congress did approve back pay for furloughed government workers, which means at least 400,000 government workers will be paid for not working during the entire shutdown. This is not necessarily the case for federal contractors.
– By Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.