Government shutdown: veterans worried about losing disability checks

Local Marine says he could lose house

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The government shutdown is hitting home for some of America's heroes.

A growing number of South Florida U.S. military veterans are wondering how they will get by if their federal disability checks suddenly stop arriving.

Adolfo Jose Perez, 48, of Lake Worth straightened up his uniform while getting ready to work his new part-time job.  Perez runs the security desk at a condominium in South Palm Beach.

In the 1980s, Perez was wearing a different kind of uniform as a U.S. Marine.

"It manned me up and gave me direction," he said.

Honorably discharged after six years of service, Perez still has physical and emotional wounds that may never heal, such as PTSD, he said. He relies very heavily on a monthly disability check from the federal government.

"Without it, I would see myself literally in the streets," said Perez.

Perhaps, it is his new and harsh reality after hearing what the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs reiterated Wednesday.

If the government shutdown continues into late October, the Secretary believes that nearly four million veterans will not receive their disability compensation.

"You have to remember it's one time a month," said Perez. "It becomes the one thing that you wait for."

The former Marine hopes those in Washington act quickly. Otherwise, he says, millions of veterans may suddenly find themselves in financial harms way.

"I made all these strides and because of a squabble so far away from my home, now I may tend to lose all of that, " said Perez.     

Perez is still hopeful that Congress and the president will come to an agreement.

The president is set to meet with a number of Republican lawmakers at the White House on Thursday.
 

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