National Commander Daniel Dellinger addresses a crowd in front of the barricaded National World War II Memorial. (Photo by Noel St. John)

Press conference to address shutdown’s effects

American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger will address Legionnaires, veterans and their families during a news conference at 2 p.m. (EDT) Oct. 15 at the Indiana War Memorial. Dellinger will discuss how the government shutdown continues to negatively affect veterans and their families, and how millions of America’s veterans will stop receiving about $6 billion in benefits on Nov. 1 if a funding decision is not made.

"Imagine how will it feel to be a veteran living month to month on a VA benefits check that may not be paid in November?," Dellinger recently said in regards to the government shutdown. "We’re talking about food, shelter and electricity. We’re talking about survival for people without any safety nets. We can’t put veterans at risk of eviction, homelessness or worse."

The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that funding for veterans benefits will become exhausted within two weeks, resulting in the suspension of claims processing for compensation, pension, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits, as well as the suspension of tuition and stipends for hundreds of thousands of veterans and servicemembers. Benefits payments would also be halted for disabled veterans, their surviving spouses and eligible children.

"It is now time for our government in Washington to stand with – and not against – our men and women who have served this country with honor and sacrifice," Dellinger said.

Legionnaires, veterans, military personnel and their families are encouraged to attend the news conference at the Indiana War Memorial, 431 N Meridian St., Indianapolis. The news conference will also be available on www.legion.org one hour after it concludes.

Also, the Legion will be represented at a related event in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. Oct. 15. More than 30 veterans service organizations are expected to come together at the National World War II Memorial to call for an end to the shutdown. During the event, Steve Gonzalez – assistant director of the Legion's Economic Division – will discuss how the shutdown has impacted veterans employment and training.