Tiyan VA office closed due to shutdown
by Jolene Toves
Guam - One of the many agencies that has closed its doors as a result of the federal government shutdown is the Guam Benefits Office for Veterans in Tiyan. A notice of the closure was sent on behalf of the VBA Regional Office in Honolulu. Despite this shutdown the Guam Veteran's Affairs Office in Piti remains open.
Director John Unpingco told KUAM News, "Our doors are open for anyone who has any questions as to their claims but as to the claims being processed back there in Hawaii. I mean the power of attorney has already been given to the federal side so therefore the questions that would normally be given to Hawaii would normally be handled by the federal. I should mention that the people in charge of adjudicating their claims are also closed in Hawaii, so it's really like a domino effect and we are getting restricted more and more in how much we can help."
This means if you have already filed a claim with the office in Tiyan they are on hold, however the Piti VA office can provide limited assistance in making inquires, and beginning the process of filing new claims. Unpingco stresses that whether it gets adjudicated and veterans see that first compensation check in the mail is a different story. As for veterans receiving payments in compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation programs, he said, "The claims processing the money allocated for it will carry us through to the end of this month and then after that they will have to be suspended I say suspended because it doesn't mean it goes away once the budget gets re-enacted hopefully there will be a provision to pay back what is owed."
Meanwhile the lapse in appropriations will not affect VA home loan processing, insurance processing, the veterans crisis line, veteran's cemetery services and all medical facilities and clinics which will remain fully operational. The VA will continue to update its plan in the event of a prolonged shutdown. For more information visit http://www.va.gov.