The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) reportedly informed a Sarasota County, Florida, Marine vet that he must pay back over $100,000 to the agency, according to 10 Tampa Bay WTSP.
Marine veteran Patrick McFeely was reportedly sent a letter by the VA stating, “Your entitlement to compensation and pension benefits has changed. As a result, you were paid $108,094 more than you’re entitled,” 10 Tampa Bay WTSP reported. The department will reportedly withhold funds from McFeely’s pension on a monthly basis in order to account for the alleged overcompensation.
‘I’m afraid they’re gonna take everything’: Marine veteran gets letter from VA saying he needs to pay back $100K https://t.co/SJXSYLkGWS
— 10TV (@10TV) November 21, 2023
“When I called I got the runaround and them saying that it’s because I collect Social Security and they didn’t know it,” McFeely told the outlet. “They said I didn’t report it, but what is documented that they know I was collecting Social Security at the time.” (RELATED: VA Error Leaves Potentially Thousands Of Student Veterans Without Rent Payments)
McFeely maintained that the VA reached out to him close to a decade after he initially began collecting Social Security, according to WTSP.
“I’m hand to mouth. I’m going to be 72 in January so it’s a little bit late to try to collect $108,000 from me,” he said. (RELATED: BYRNES: Veterans Need More Healthcare Options, Not Lies About The VA Budget)
“Between 2011 and 2022, due to discrepancies in data matching, VA was unable to reliably verify the self-reported federal income of Veterans and survivors receiving pensions,” VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes told 10 Tampa Bay.
By July of 2022, income verification resumed and the VA said it concluded that nearly 10,000 beneficiaries had higher incomes than those individuals had reported, 10 Tampa Bay reported.
“This resulted in VA pension overpayments which – in some cases – spanned many years,” Hayes added.
Thousands of low-income veterans receiving pension payments from the VA are being told they were overpaid and need to pay it back—
Like this Marine I talked with in Sarasota County, Florida, who had no idea there was an issue until he was told to pay back $100,000 pic.twitter.com/k4sdQl17kf
— Aaron Parseghian WTSP (@AaronParseghian) November 21, 2023
“At the bottom of this letter, it says how to manage financial stress. So now they want me to contact the suicide hotline, which is crazy, they’re the ones that put me in this situation,” McFeely said, the outlet noted.