My husband is a disabled veteran. We live in the flux that is military retirement. Thankfully he also has a job. But check out some of these loose statistics:
(credit goes to Veterans Day: Census Facts)
- There are 21.5 MILLION veterans in the U.S.
- 9.2 MILLION vets are over age 65 (read: beyond typically employed age, relying on retirement income)
- Florida, Texas and California are home to over 1 MILLION veterans each
- 3.5 MILLION of these vets have a service-connected disability. This ranges from simple issues to men and women who will never be able to re-enter the work force.
And finally: Only 9.1 MILLION of these 21.5 MILLION veterans are gainfully employed.
What does this mean? If the goverment does not figure it's shit out SOON, how many of these men and women will go hungry? How many will end up homeless?
I've heard lots of veteran families say, "We are hoping it works out by the time we're supposed to get our checks." Look, I think that's a pretty dangerous assumption, but hope is all they have.
I've heard some people in the community say, "We are all just thinking it will be fixed by the 1st." Look, I think that's a pretty dangerous assumption and hope is NOT all WE have.
I am crying out to the people of this nation and to the CHURCHES-RALLY FOR THE VETERANS! Most of these people will not stand up and cry out for their own benefit. They NEED US. Write your congressperson, but beyond this, DO SOMETHING. The churches I've been involved in have complained that the government is forcing tax payers to do the job of the church-well, this is our chance to STAND UP and take our position as caretakers of the weak back.
What does that look like? It could be as simple as churches putting up signs that every veteran can come get bags of rice and beans until checks come or it could be as elaborate as opening homes or giving 3 square meals per day. Really, there is a lot of room for creativity here and there is a vast NEED.
This is not some pie-in-the-sky issue that *might* come to fruition...these are our fellow Americans facing rent deadlines that will not be met and landlords who don't understand. This is our brothers and sisters facing the prospect of being hungry and not being able to bring enough food for their families.
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and USAA are both putting their words to action. I am linking to both of them in the event that veterans stumble upon this post and can benefit from these services. Please link other organizations in the comments section so that we can serve as a small corner of the internet that HELPS instead of points fingers at a certain political party or another.
WWP is giving checks to anyone registered as an Alumni as of October 14 if pension checks don't come on time. If you are registered with them and haven't been in contact for a while, make sure your address is up to date. http://www.wwphighcap.org/
USAA says this: "USAA Bank remains ready to offer a zero-interest, 0% APR payroll advance loan to affected members if the next federal budget issue — the debt ceiling — disrupts pay to active-duty service personnel. Affected members whose federal payments are delayed by such an impasse and who have existing direct-deposit arrangements at USAA Bank for active-duty military or military retiree pay, or VA or Social Security payments, may be eligible for the loan." https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_logon/Logon
PLEASE think on, pray about, consider and decide what you will do, or what you will inspire those in your circle to do if these checks are not sent on the 1st. Don't wrongly assume that if this is sorted out by the 1st of November that checks will be on time; they will not. What if your paycheck were 2 weeks late? How would that affect your family? Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and that is representative of most veterans, as well.
Let's be the solution to this problem. Let's stand in the gap the government has created for those who have served and sacrificed. Our family is prepared to help in any way that we can. Will you join us? Share this post and let's create a network of resources around the nation for those who need a safety net.
If you are a Christian, CALL YOUR CHURCH and find out WHAT they WILL be doing. Do not be the people who walked past the battered man in the ditch. Let's show the world what our faith really means with a biblical response. This problem is NOT too big. We can be the change. This won't require a mission trip or fundraising-it only requires a willing heart.
Edited to Add: I know enlisted personnel stand to see a loss of payment, and I feel for them and their families. However, the sad fact is that veterans have nowhere near the network that enlisted personnel do. My focus here is on vets, although I recognize this shutdown affects far more than just them.