Shutdown is worrisome time for couple living on vet benefits

Shutdown is worrisome time for couple living on vet benefits »Play Video
Kelli Landis

PORTLAND, Ore. – Kelli Landis is the caregiver for her husband, who was injured in Iraq.

A head wound left him with memory problems and severe migraine headaches. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, Landis said.

Landis works part-time as a nanny, but she says her full-time job is essentially taking care of her husband. The couple lives on his veteran benefits. They got their money this month, but there were no promises they’d get it next month if the government is still shut down.

“If it happens that we don’t get our income next month, we may get evicted. Everything’s up in the air, but that’s quite a possibility,” she said. “That’s very frightening to us.”

Landis says it’s a challenge to have a wounded soldier in the family, but a government shutdown could make it even more difficult.

“With someone who’s disabled, trying to move that quickly, if we can’t make rent, is going to be very difficult.”

Landis said they’ll try to find someone to stay with if their benefits don’t come through next month.

“You keep your fingers crossed and keep positive thoughts, but you need to have a backup plan, and we’re going to have to find somebody who will take us in until this is all settled,” she said.

Landis said she was told the couple will get reimbursed for the money they don’t get during the shutdown, but that may not help them on Nov. 1 when rent is due.

Most staffers at the Department of Veteran Affairs are exempt from the shutdown, although claims workers can only process benefit payments until late October when the money starts to run out.

"There are so many people out here," Landis said, "so many veteran families. (Congress needs) to start listening to each other and realize that they're hurting people."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.