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Government Shutdown affects veterans in need of federal documents

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A week into the government shutdown and all of the national archive centers are closed. Now, local veterans in need of important federal documents are stuck waiting indefinitely.

Any veteran who doesn't already have their proof of service record also known as the DD- 214 form, has no way of getting it.

Marine Veteran Ryan Umberger is one of many vets who are frustrated.

"It's a piece of paper, just simply a piece of paper that I need that I can't get and there's no telling when I'm going to be able to get it," says Umberger.

Since the National Archive Centers have closed, at least four local veterans have applied for discharge papers in the past week and been told their request can't be processed.

"It's going to be really hard for me to obtain that form, and that form is very essential for anything I need to do as far as applying for benefits, obtaining certain types of employment. Without that form, it becomes impossible to do anything sometimes," says Umberger. 

McLennan County Veteran's Services Officer Steve Hernandez says it's a document all vets should have.

"Basically it's to acknowledge your time of service, the time that you served, your character of discharge, any potential ribbons or commendations or medals that you may have received. It's really just your military history," says Hernandez.

Without their discharge papers, veterans can't apply for different services, like jobs, home loans or new claims and pending claims without it won't be completed.

"I've been waiting 13 months for [my] claim so far and we're nearing the end of it and now because of the government shutdown it's going to be postponed even further," says Umberger.

The DD-214 form normally takes four-to-six weeks to be returned but now it will take even longer.

These departments are vital to being able to reintegrate, reestablish yourself. It could cause frustration, it could cause more depression, more challenges," says Hernandez.

The government shutdown doesn't only affect veterans it also impacts all the employees who have been furloughed who would be processing their requests.

"We have a government in place that is supposed to know how to working these things out and apparently they're unable to work it out. I wish them the best of luck because I need them to figure it out, a lot of people do."

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