Veterans Hospital Admin to Patient: ‘No More Benefits Because You’re Dead’

“At a touch of a button, because of someone’s clerical error, your whole life can be taken away.”

A North Carolina military veteran can be forgiven for showing his ‘shocked face’ when he opened a letter from legitimate government agencies advising him that he had died.

Veteran Robert Pressley

Veteran Robert Pressley

It seems that veteran Robert Pressley and his family received notification not only from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but also the Department of Defense, documenting that he was no longer among the living.

The good news was that the letters came with government checks to help pay for his funeral. The crummy news was that no more benefit checks – or insurance coverage – would be coming.

“It’s insane and it scares me to death,” Pressley told WECT TV reporters. “Now I have to prove I’m really alive.”

How such an error could happen is a bit of a mystery, but the reality is this: Pressley no longer receives his monthly disability payments, healthcare or medical insurance. To make matters worse, the U.S. Government agencies are in no apparent hurry to correct their mistake and return Pressley’s life to normal.  He is getting no help from them in resolving the issue.

The former military man supports a family and simply cannot afford to lose the income or insurance coverage. He states that due to his service-related disabilities he is unable to work. Compounding the problem is that the funeral money was reportedly mailed to Pressley’s former wife. This occurred well after he had advised the VA several times of his change of address.

“They tell us some vets have to wait nearly three years to get their benefits back,” he told reporters. “I don’t have that much time.”

News reporters at WECT TV have reached out to the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense but have received no explanation for the baffling incident.

Here’s another look:

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Related Story:

In results that should surprise nobody, a Veteran Hospital employee survey reveals that morale at the Veterans Affairs Department is down.

Only 64% of the employees who responded reported being “content” with their jobs overall. Satisfaction with the Department as a whole was down, from 55% in 2013 to 53% in 2014,saying they were satisfied.

The survey asked if they believed their leadership “maintain high standards of honesty and integrity.” 44% agreed – down from 49% the year before. Only 37% believed policies and procedures of the VA’s senior leadership were acceptable.

The number of employees who felt a “high level of respect” for their administrators also fell, from 50% to 46%.

Last Fall Veterans Affairs became embroiled in a widespread patient scheduling scandal that outraged the public. Yet in spite of their lack of confidence in leadership, a full 92% of respondents agreed that what they do is important and 85% report they enjoyed their work.

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