MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Veterans Administration Regional Office in Milwaukee is closed to the public as of Tuesday, October 8th. According to a news release, "a substantial portion of the VA workforce has been notified that they are not to report to work due to the Federal Government funding stand-off."
As a result of the closure, disability claims will be hampered and veterans seeking to process claims will be restricted to contacting their representatives by letter, telephone or email only.
No personal contact will be available -- and appeals in process will be suspended. Also, a September 30th communication stated VA benefit payments for October may not be paid.
A surprised Terri Long reported to work on Tuesday in the kitchen at the Milwaukee VA Regional Office -- and saw she had been reassigned to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Labor Union Rep. David Bump was put on notice.
"It basically says it's good for 30 days and that you're not getting paid. You can't volunteer to do your job," Bump said.
Seth Robinson wanted an update on his disability checks, but was left locked out.
"It's like a kick in the butt to the veterans man, and I had my neck replaced," Robinson said.
James Fialkowski is a Veterans Services Representative who met with clients outside the building on Tuesday. He says he is concerned about the thousands of vets who depend on disability checks if payments stop this month.
"It's sad to see that their livelihoods and their lives are being utilized as a tool," Fialkowski said.
Dan Valuskis suffers from PTSD among other health issues, and fears he and other veterans will have no one to turn to.
"We're talking more homeless veterans, possibly some very depressed veterans that might do things that they wouldn't think about doing if they had that check coming in," Valuskis said.
The shutdown also means the claims that are currently in the appeals process will be suspended -- and there is already a backlog of unprocessed claims.