Lubbock veterans feeling impact of shutdown - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock veterans feeling impact of shutdown


Many local veterans could be losing their sole source of income.

"As of right now we're looking at not receiving our disability as of November 1st," said Marine Corps veteran Curtis Pennington. "I've contacted the VA, all of the workers are on furlough. My social worker is on furlough. My school counselor that works at the VA clinic, she's on furlough so I can't really get any answers right now."

Curtis was involved in an RPG attack during his tour in Iraq and considers himself fortunate to be home, but once he returned, the scars of battle still remained.

"I tried to commit suicide a couple of times when I made it home. I suffered PTSD really bad. I had leg injuries, hip injuries and back injuries due to the accident."

Currently, he is enrolled at South Plains College with hopes of transferring to Sam Houston State and getting a degree in electrical engineering, but today those dreams took a hit.

"As of today I'm not going to be receiving my school benefits. I'm in vocational rehabilitation, going to school to be an engineer and without that it doesn't pay for me to go to school," he said. "Right now I will not have any funding to go to school next month."

James Kuehl is another veteran facing financial hardship.

"80 percent of our budget is paid for by the G.I. bill and VA disability," he said.

James is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He narrowly missed being killed by an IED and felt hopeless as his pregnant wife faced medical issues at home and he couldn't help. That is part of what led to his PTSD with obsessive compulsive tendencies.

"I already have enough guilt with the PTSD and things that I'm not over there and someone else is there in my place and now I'm not being appreciated for what I've done here. It's really hard for me," said Kuehl. "We have hospital bills like everyone does, I got a car payment, I'm paying for this house. Everything we do is basically reliant on the VA disability."

If no government deal is reached, Kuehl may be forced to sell his home and move his family in with his parents down state.

Pennington says his landlord is working with him right now to make accommodations in case the benefits stop, but he may be forced to move if the shutdown lingers.

Both men say they need a resolution as quickly as possible.

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