Fil-Am pensioners worried over effects of US govt shutdown

By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 02 2013 04:47 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2013 12:47 AM

NEVADA - Some Filipino-Americans in Las Vegas who are retired from the US military fear they too might be affected by the US government shutdown.

US President Barack Obama had signed a bill to ensure all active members of the US military will continue to get paid.

But for retired Fil-Am servicemen, they're worried they won't get their monthly pension.

Among them is Oscar Operio, who spent 22 years in the military service and spent another 14 years in the navy exchange.

He gets both of his retirement checks from the federal government.

"Medyo nag wo-worry kase lalo nako umaasa lang ako fix income, umaasa lang ako sa pension ko saka yung ibang veterano maraming mga veteranong maapektuhan lalo kung yun lang naman ang inaasahan nila. Sigurado maraming magaalsa dito," said Operio.

Operio added that even though he has already received his pension for October, he's uncertain what will happen in the months ahead.

"Kaya lang yung pinaghirapan mo na umaasa ka na tuloy-tuloy yung lalo na may pamilya ka yun lang ang inaasahan ninyo di na ako nagta-trabaho ngayon. Retired na ako. Anong mangyayari sa amin? Anong isusuport ko sa kanila kaya big impact yun sa pamilya naming," added Operio.

Leonardo Fortuno, a retired US naval officer, said although Republicans and Democrats don't see eye to eye, they should still keep the government running and protect veterans' retirement pay.

Fortuno added since lawmakers will still get paid during the shutdown veterans' benefits and social security pay must also continue.

Other veterans meanwhile are optimistic the US Congress deadlock will be resolved soon.

The Veterans Affairs Department said if the shutdown drags into late October, it will run out of money for compensation and pension checks for more than 3.6 million veterans worldwide who rely on these checks as their monthly income.

Veterans might not get their disability and pension benefits as the VA department might not have enough cash on hand.