Thousands of Iowa veterans could miss out on their benefits if the government shutdown doesn’t end soon.
Ed Markow of Ankeny remembers the day he came home from Vietnam like it was yesterday. “I was spit on when I walked off the plane in Seattle.” Markow recalls, “There were some protesters out there and a girl spit on me and called me a baby killer. I had been in a fire-fight 48-hours before then.”
Thursday, Markow says he’s still getting spit on this time by his government.
Like thousands of other veterans in Iowa and millions around the country, Markow could lose his benefits if lawmakers don’t end the government shutdown this month. Polk County Veterans Affairs works with about 14-thousand vets and their families every year. Many rely on these benefits and the shut-down is already taking a toll.
“I talked to a gentleman this morning, World War Two veteran in his late 80’s, just put his wife in a nursing home, and doesn’t know what he’s gonna do.” said Nick Lemmo with Polk County Veterans’ Affairs, “And I said we can file for federal assistance but there’s nobody even to look at the applications.”
Nationally, US veterans are due $6 billion worth of benefits in November, checks that won’t be written if the government is still shut down. Markow says Congress and the president are putting politics before people.