The Department of Veterans Affairs cut off benefits for thousands of people across the United States after they were mistakenly declared dead, said a Florida congressman on May 25.
Rep. David Jolly (FL-R) says the people were “very much alive.”
Jolly said the veterans’ benefits were resumed after the department checked their cases.
The VA wrongly declared 4,200 veterans dead during the years 2011 to 2015.
“These numbers confirm our suspicion, that mistaken deaths by the VA have been a widespread problem impacting thousands of veterans across the country,” Jolly said in a statement.
The Pinellas County congressman requested a 5-year report of mistaken deaths last year after veterans at Tampa Bay were wrongly declared dead.
The VA says it wrongly declared 4,201 people dead over last 5 yrs. I want a follow up report to ensure new VA policy eliminates errors.
— David Jolly (@USRepDavidJolly) May 25, 2016
Jolly said the agency admitted the mistakes and has changed its procedures for confirming deaths.
“We simply cannot have men and women who have sacrificed for this country see their rightful benefits wrongfully terminated because the VA mistakenly declares them dead,” Jolly said in a statement.
“This creates tremendous financial hardships and undue personal turmoil for veterans, many who are seniors relying primarily if not solely on their VA benefits,” he said.
The congressman said will be asking for an annual survey, as well as a report at the end of 2016.
He said that if the new protocols don’t work, congress will “demand further action.”
“It’s a problem that should have been addressed years ago, as it has caused needless hardships for thousands of people who had their benefits terminated and their world turned upside down.”