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Government Shutdown Threatens Veterans Livelihood - Eric Alvarez

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- Midstate veterans fear the government shutdown could see their benefits checks stop coming by late October.

Ledell Mimms, 56, has been lifting things his whole life.  Every day he llifts 100-lb boxes at Operation Stand Down Nashville every day.

Mimms also carried 175 pound mortars for the U.S. Army in Panama until 1976 when he suffered a serious injury.

"When I lifted one of the cannons, there was a pop in my back, Mimms said.

That pop turned into a chronic problem that keeps him in a back brace and dependent on veteran's compensation checks.

Now the government shutdown could see those checks dry up in late October.

"If I don't receive my check next month, Im sure to get an eviction notice so that concerns me a whole lot, Mimms said.

Mimms is just one of thousands of midstate veterans that's unsure when or if that check is ever going to come.

The VA regional office, all of its public contact, the folks that go out and meet with the veterans on the street is on furlough, said Bill Burleigh, executive director of Operation Stand Down Nashville.

Burleigh says the VAs Nashville regional office is still paying out claims, but their staff is stretched thin.

A lot of the phone lines folks have been furloughed so they're at a reduced capacity, Burleigh said.

The VA regional office tells Fox 17 the veteran's medical centers and clinics will stay open during the shutdown.

A spokesperson says the Nashville regional office has enough funds to pay claims through late October, but a longer shutdown could see payments stop.

Mimms says, he can work despite the pain in his back, it's only fair for lawmakers to do whatever it takes to get back to work.

"I would love for them to grow up and solve this issue, Mimms said.  Wake up.  See what's going on around you."

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