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Furloughs may begin to impact local Veterans

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The government shutdown, now in it's ninth day, is starting to impact veterans in our area.

Over 7,000 employees across the nation, for the Veterans Benefits Administration have been furloughed as a result.

297 of those workers, including the one who is stationed in Amarillo, work for the Waco VA Regional Office, which handles all of Amarillo's paperwork.

Steve Walker, a local Vietnam Veteran knows first hand how important those benefits are. "It's a major portion of my income. My wife and I are both on social security and then the disability from the VA. So it keeps us above water," he told us.

Since the government shutdown, Walker says he's been worried about the future.

"It's always in the back of my mind and I shouldn't have to live like that. Neither should anybody in this country when it comes to that," he said.

A statement sent to us from the VA says "in the case of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted."

The VA also says they won't be able to ensure that money will go out on time starting November 1st, if the shutdown doesn't end soon.

Although the VA regional office that handles benefit claims in Waco is shut down, a local representative for the Amarillo VA Healthcare System says the hospital has enough funding to remain open through 2014.

Colleen Nelson - NewsChannel 10.

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