Sunday, 03 March 2024

Thompson urges spouses of deceased veterans to check if they received all benefits

WASHINGTON — On Monday Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) alerted constituents that due to a computer error at the Veterans Administration (VA), for almost 12 years surviving spouses of veterans may have been wrongfully denied benefits.

Under a law passed in 1996, the spouse of a deceased veteran is entitled to benefits for the month of the veteran's death, but instead the department has been demanding the last month’s payment back from the widows, or simply not sending a check at all.

“It’s outrageous that the spouses of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country have been wrongfully denied this last month of payments,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “I urge all survivors of veterans who died after Dec. 31, 1996, to check with the VA to see if they were affected by this error and make sure the VA has their most current address. If folks encounter a problem they shouldn’t hesitate to contact my office and we’ll work on their behalf to make sure they receive all of the benefits their family member earned by serving our great nation.”

The VA has pledged to work quickly to fix the error, and is reviewing their payment records for veterans who died after Dec. 31, 1996, and who are survived by a spouse. The VA will begin issuing retroactive payments to eligible surviving spouses at the end of this month.

Bob Penny, Lake County's assistant veterans service officer, said the VA's computer glitch hasn't proved to be a big problem locally.

“We always go out of our way to make sure the widows get their benefits,” he said.

He added, “Because we're a small office we can identify those issues a lot quicker.”

Penny said the VA has formed a task force to address the issue.

Surviving spouses can contact the VA’s Survivors’ Call Center at 1-800-749-8387. The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. central standard time. Inquiries can also be submitted on the Internet at







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