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Partial shutdown may delay
veterans', welfare checks

December 20, 1995
Web posted at: 9:20 p.m. EST


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Checks to more than 3 million veterans and 13.1 million welfare recipients will be delayed if the partial government shutdown continues, according to agency spokespersons.

A continuing resolution must be passed by Congress and signed into law by the president by Thursday at 8 a.m. EDT to avoid the delay in veterans' checks, according to Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Kathy Jurado.

The benefits include compensation checks to disabled veterans, pension checks to low-income veterans, checks to veterans' widows and G.I. bill education payments.

President Clinton

"This shutdown hurts the very people we are duty-bound to serve,"

-- President Clinton

A resolution must be passed by Friday to avoid a delay in $3.6 billion in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), according to Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Kharfen.

At least 4.7 million families and 9 million children rely on benefits from the AFDC program. The national median monthly payment to families under the program is $375, according to Kharfen.

Should the government shutdown continue through January 1, $25 billion in Medicaid payments to the states covering 35 million recipients could be affected, according to a Health and Human Services official.

Social Security, Medicare and survivor benefits are unaffected by the shutdown.

Jurado said it takes 6 business days to fully process veterans checks and get them to beneficiaries by January 1. For each day the government shutdown continues after Thursday, checks to veterans will be delayed by one day.

Jurado said the checks are processed and waiting at the Treasury Department and will be sent out as soon as a funding mechanism is in place.

No veterans or welfare checks were delayed during the November shutdown.

An additional 1,700 workers are at the Department of Veterans Affairs are being kept on the job during the current shutdown; 1,500 are serving as benefits counselors answering veterans' questions, and 200 are processing mail.

President Clinton expressed his concern as the deadlock between his administration and the GOP on the balanced budget plan continued. "This shutdown hurts the very people we are duty-bound to serve," he said. (119K AIFF sound or 119K WAV sound)

Talks to end the deadlock are on the horizon. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said Wednesday they had spoken with the president and that budget negotiations would continue.

"We agreed that White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta would meet at 6 p.m. EST in the Capitol with budget chairmen Pete Domenici and John Kasich," they said in a written statement. "Following that meeting, it was agreed that we would speak again with President Clinton (Wednesday) tonight to review any progress made in moving towards a balanced budget."

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