Local veterans like Sergeant Mikeal Swenson are speaking out after they say the partial government shutdown are impacting their lives for the worse. In Swenson's case, he said he is now homeless.
Swenson received a Purple Heart, served during the Afghanistan war and is now living with the wounds of war. He has been rated 70 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is getting benefits.
Swenson said he is now feeling the impact of the government shutdown and it is affecting his ability to find a home.
"It is already a process dealing with the VA and now it is like they have an excuse," he said.
The Purple Heart recipient is expecting more benefits in the month of January. His plans were to find a home for him and his wife.
"We're talking about combat-related special compensation; $18,000," he said.
He told On Your Side he has called the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and all he gets is a voicemail.
"I get a message that says due to high volume we cannot take your call and then it hangs up," he said.
He said he served his country and now he is fighting to get the benefits he is entitled to; he is frustrated.
"I feel so helpless at this moment and I am having to try and calm her down," he said. "She says, 'what are we going to do we are sleeping in the car.'"
He said he turned to non-profits for help and found none. He now blames the gridlock 800 miles away in Washington, D.C.
"If the government was not shut down, we would not be having this conversation," he said.
A spokesperson for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service told On Your Side:
"DFAS is not affected by funding issues. if you can send his name and contact info I will call and find out what area he needs to talk with."
On Your Side provided the information so that Swenson can get the help he needs.
"Anybody, not just veterans, anybody with any kind of disability should not have to feel like a bum, I shouldn't have to feel this way," he said.
Swenson hopes this is the turning point in getting the benefits he said he earned and he deserves.
UPDATE | Swenson's story makes tremendous progress: