If a vet­er­an want­ed to go over a dis­a­bil­i­ty claim at lunch­time on Thurs­day, it would have to wait un­til af­ter yoga class.

A fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down has locked out the general pub­lic at the Bish­op Henry Whip­ple Federal Building at Fort Snel­ling. Because of the shut­down, vet­er­ans or­gan­i­za­tions such as the Dis­a­bled A­mer­i­can Veterans have had to make do with al­ter­na­tive methods to serve their cli­ents.

For Mike Medhaug, who u­su­al­ly han­dles claims for the Min­ne­so­ta DAV in the fed­er­al build­ing, that now means a make­shift desk in the cor­ner of an a­tri­um at the near­by Min­ne­ap­olis VA Medical Center, which re­mains open through the shut­down.

With nurses in sur­gi­cal scrubs going over charts near­by and the reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled Thurs­day yoga class with Dor­is clear­ing out the room be­tween 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., it may not be i­de­al. But Medhaug per­se­veres.

Across the coun­try, as many as 95 percent of VA em­ploy­ees are eith­er full­y fund­ed or re­quired to per­form other func­tions. But as the shut­down stretch­es past its se­cond week, some of the more vis­i­ble ex­am­ples of its im­pact could be seen on the state’s 369,000 veterans. In Min­ne­so­ta, vet­er­ans re­ceive $863 mil­lion a year in pensions and com­pen­sa­tion, $865 mil­lion a year in med­i­cal care and $133 mil­lion a year in ed­u­ca­tion­al ben­efits.

All of it is now threat­ened.

“They are still tak­ing new claims, peo­ple still are get­ting health care, but as you would think, it’s not op­er­at­ing as ef­fi­cient­ly as it may have when it was full­y staffed,” said Milt Schoen, Hennepin County’s di­rec­tor of vet­er­ans ser­vices. “The big is­sue is at the first of the month do they have mon­ey to pay So­cial Security checks, VA checks? We’ve been try­ing not to cre­ate any more anx­i­e­ty amongst people as pos­si­ble. The anx­i­e­ty is there.”

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned Congress this week that if the gov­ern­ment shutdown con­tinues into late Oc­to­ber, compensation pay­ments to more than 3.8 mil­lion vet­er­ans will not be made in No­vem­ber. Pen­sion pay­ments will also stop for al­most 315,000 low-in­come vet­er­ans.

“I will not be able to pay all these bene­fi­ciar­ies,” Shin­seki told the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednes­day. “I will not be send­ing checks out.”

Public access closed

All pub­lic ac­cess to the VA’s 56 re­gion­al of­fices was sus­pend­ed Tues­day for lack of funds, the VA said. The vis­i­tor park­ing lot at the Whip­ple Federal Building at midmorning Thurs­day had three cars in it. U­su­al­ly it is filled.

Organizations like the DAV are ad­apt­ing. On a typi­cal day, Medhaug, him­self a vet­er­an with 20 years’ ac­tive duty, will see a doz­en walk-ins. Since the shut­down, he said, that has dwin­dled to a cou­ple a day. As the shut­down con­tinues, DAV will use a mo­bile claims of­fice and oth­er re­sources to reach out, even if it means plop­ping the mo­bile of­fice in a park­ing lot of a co­op­er­at­ing shop­ping mall.

“The long­er it goes on, the more cre­ative we’ll be­come,” Medhaug said.

Tuition and rent money

On Min­ne­so­ta col­lege cam­puses, vet­er­ans using the GI Bill and oth­er fed­er­al ed­u­ca­tion ben­efits are in­creas­ing­ly wor­ried.

“The gov­ern­ment shut­down is caus­ing a lot of anx­i­e­ty and un­cer­tain­ty for stu­dent vet­er­ans,” said Bruce Holzschuh, co­or­di­na­tor of vet­er­ans and mil­i­tar­y stu­dent ser­vices at Metropolitan State University, which has around 1,600 vet­er­ans, serv­ice mem­bers and ­militar­y fam­i­ly mem­bers ad­mit­ted. A­bout 450 are re­ceiv­ing eith­er or both of VA and fed­er­al tu­i­tion as­sist­ance ed­u­ca­tion­al ben­efits.

As of now, the tu­i­tion as­sist­ance will not be fund­ed, af­fect­ing stu­dents for the spring se­mes­ter who are still ser­ving. Holzschuh said he also is start­ing to hear from vet­er­ans who have yet to re­ceive an Oc­to­ber hous­ing sti­pend.

“This has a di­rect and neg­a­tive im­pact on the stu­dent vet­er­an’s a­bil­i­ty to con­cen­trate and suc­ceed ac­a­dem­i­cal­ly,” he said.

For mem­bers of the Min­ne­so­ta National Guard, it has meant the can­cel­la­tion of drills for a se­cond straight week­end. With few exceptions, none of its 14,000 mem­bers will drill a­gain un­til the shut­down is re­solved. While no one is claim­ing the se­curi­ty of the state — or the na­tion — is at stake, on a typi­cal month, the Min­ne­so­ta Guard pays its mem­bers $5.25 mil­lion. That’s mon­ey that won’t be forth­com­ing.

The month­ly sti­pends of­ten mean mak­ing ends meet.

“Even at just an E-1’s [pri­vate’s] pay, that’s $150 to$200 a month they are miss­ing,” one Guard mem­ber wrote on a Guard Twit­ter feed an­noun­cing the lat­est drill can­cel­la­tion. “No­vem­ber’s rent for my fiancé and I will be hard to come up with.”