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Veterans' benefits denied for man pronounced dead in error

A Korean War veteran from a southern state recently discovered that he was mistakenly pronounced dead. His death was incorrectly pronounced by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, meaning that his veterans' benefits lapsed. Further, the timing of his benefits being cut could not have been worse, as the man was suffering from serious health problems following the recent death of his wife. Problems like this are actually all too common in Pennsylvania and other areas of the country. 

According to the 82-year-old man's family members, he is not doing well health-wise and is bound to his bed at a nursing home, so the halt in benefits came at a very bad time. The man's granddaughter anxiously contacted the Veterans' Affairs office by multiple numbers in order to correct the mistake and get her grandfather the benefits he desperately required. Nevertheless, she kept getting transferred to other departments to speak with different people who could not help her. She said that she called at least 100 different numbers to no effect.

Eventually, the man's granddaughter called a local news station. After the station ran her grandfather's story on television, Veterans' Affairs contacted the station to say that the problem had been corrected. The station announced it had reviewed the issue carefully and corrected the mistake so that the elderly man could again receive his much-needed benefits. In addition, Veterans' Affairs apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused as a result of the error.

This family's Veterans' Affairs problems were eventually resolved; however, there are numerous families who cannot obtain the veterans' benefits they rightly deserve, no matter what they try to do. In such cases, there are legal strategies available to Pennsylvania residents, depending on the situation, which could serve to resolve the issue. A veterans' law attorney can be beneficial to help bring such cases to successful resolution.

Source: NY Daily News, "VA declares living Korean War veteran dead, stops benefits: report", Michael Walsh, Sept. 27, 2014

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