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Veterans' benefits cease following incorrect death declaration

Many veterans in Pennsylvania depend upon the money they receive every month from the Veterans Benefits Administration. However, as evidenced by the multiple news stories detailing the failures of the VA, the process of qualifying for veterans' benefits is often lengthy. Even once approved, there are some who struggle to receive their benefits because of administrative errors made by the VA. For example, one out-of-state man claims he stopped receiving benefits after someone at the VA indicated that he had passed away.

The 67-year-old man served in Vietnam for several years and was awarded the Bronze Star. Unfortunately, he received a letter from his bank stating that it had received a request to refund monies to the federal government because the veteran had passed away. He also received a letter from the Department of the Treasury requesting that he return over $3,000 in benefits.

When he contacted the VA, he was informed that someone had called, claiming that he had passed away. According to the person he spoke with, no evidence is required to prove such a claim. A second contact with the VA indicated that the issue was likely a result of human error. In the meantime, the man is unable to pay for gas or other bills and has been relying to the kindness of his friends to pay for car insurance.

Perhaps because his story reached the media, the VA has indicated that it will send him his benefits for June, but he is unsure when he will actually receive them. Unfortunately, there are veterans in Pennsylvania and across the country who continue to struggle to receive the veterans' benefits they deserve. While these struggles can occur because of clerical mistakes as this case seems to be or due to a denial of a request, there is professional help available.

Source: wavy.com, "Living Norfolk veteran denied benefits because VA thought he was dead", Andy Fox, June 16, 2016

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