When Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinkei warned Congress this week that unless the government shutdown ends, his department will be unable to send out 5.18 million checks on Nov. 1 many veterans in this country started to worry. Many of those heroes live in Grayson County.

When Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinkei warned Congress this week that unless the government shutdown ends, his department will be unable to send out 5.18 million checks on Nov. 1 many veterans in this country started to worry. Many of those heroes live in Grayson County.


Jimmy Petty, director of Veteran’s Services for Grayson County, said the Texas Veteran Commission reports that 12,155 veterans call Grayson County home.


Petty said he has gotten "quite a few calls" from veterans who are concerned about what might happen if the government impasse doesn’t clear up before those checks are scheduled to go out.


Many aren’t taking political sides in Washington’s fight, they just don’t want to be a casualty to it.


"I don’t care what they do as long as they leave me alone," said Korean War veteran Harold M. Wright.


Petty said news flashes from the Texas Veterans Commission show that health care centers will run as normal despite the shutdown. If the shutdown does prevent payments from being made to veterans come Nov. 1, he said, then that means some local veterans will not have the money they need to pay their monthly bills.


He said the very fact that those people are drawing disabled veteran’s benefits means they are not in the position to be able to go out and get job to fill the gap.


"It’s a very real situation," Petty said of the worry some veterans are feeling.


But, he urged veterans to take this one step at a time. The idea that the checks might not come in November is still just one things that might happen.


However, he said, even if that did happen and the checks didn’t come in November, the money would eventually have to be paid to the veterans.


"They (Congress) owe veterans those dollars," Petty said. "There is no way they can legally (permanently) withhold that money."


He said some $62 million in veterans benefits come into Grayson County, and that impact won’t only be felt by the veterans. It will be felt by the people and businesses with which the veterans do business.


Petty said there is no gap funding in Grayson County to help the veterans, so it would be good if people could be patient if the government shutdown does keep veterans from getting their checks.


One way people might show that patience would be to waive late fees if veterans have to pay rent or other bills late. Another way people might be able to help would be to give financial support to family or friends who are veterans and who might find themselves impacted by the shutdown.