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Oct 1, 2013 11:51 AM by MELISSA CANONE

VA Medical Centers Remain Open Despite Shutdown

The Alexandria VA Health Care System is alerting the public that all six of the facilities are up and running today, continuing to provide care to this nation's Veterans without interruption.

Veterans Benefits Association payments are anticipated to continue through late October.

"The VA strongly believes that a lapse in appropriations should not occur. There is still enough time for Congress to act and fund critical Government operations," said Public Affairs Officer for Alexandria VA Health Care System, Tammie Arnold.

"Regarding health care: It's important to know that the Veterans Health Administration, the branch of VA that operates our VA medical centers, including the Alexandria VA Health Care System (facilities in Alexandria, Lafayette, Jennings, Natchitoches, Lake Charles and Fort Polk), has advance appropriations for fiscal year 2014. This means that our hospitals, clinics and other health services will remain open," added Arnold.

Benefits payments administered by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA): Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended as available funding is exhausted.

The National Cemetery Administration says burials will continue, but may be on a reduced schedule.

"In the event of a prolonged shutdown, VA will continue to review and update its plan in conjunction with the applicable legal requirements and circumstances,"said Arnold.

Click here for a two-page Veterans Field Guide outlining which VA services would be impacted by a lapse in appropriations. You'll also find a more detailed contingency plan for your reference. The information is also available from our homepage www.va.gov.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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