Navy vet must offer proof of life after VA wrongly declares him dead
Posted May 11, 2015
Parkton, N.C. — Navy veteran Jeremy Walsh served in Iraq, retired after 20 years in the military and now lives in Parkton with his wife – except that the Department of Veterans Affairs believes he is dead.
Shay Walsh received a letter from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service last month seeking more than $1,600 in VA benefits improperly paid out after her husband's death.
"They're sorry to hear that my husband has passed away, and I needed to send back their money for March and April," Shay Walsh said, summarizing the letter.
"As a sailor or any retired military, we don't have that kind of money sitting around," a very-much-alive Jeremy Walsh said Monday.
He quickly got on the phone with a DFAS office in Kentucky and tried to work things out.
"Hey, I'm alive," he said he told the agency.
"We need notarization," was the response.
Jeremy Walsh got a notarized letter stating that he's alive, but not before two bank accounts were frozen, putting his family's finances in turmoil.
"I had to go into Navy Federal (Credit Union), which I've had for 20 years and I love, and say, 'Hey, I'm alive,'" he said.
Again, the response was, "We need notarization."
"Really?" he said incredulously on Monday. "What better proof do you need if I'm standing 3 feet from you?"
The VA didn't immediately respond to a request from WRAL News for comment.
Jeremy Walsh said he wants to let other veterans know that something similar could happen to them. In fact, he said, it's happened recently to at least two other veterans in North Carolina.
"What mechanisms are in place to keep this from happening again?" he asked.