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Navy vet must offer proof of life after VA wrongly declares him dead

Posted May 11, 2015

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— 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.

17 Comments

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  • Solomon Mcdonald Aug 20, 2015
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    I'm confused. Did they send his wife a $1600 death benefits check that they now want back because it was cashed? If so, this would explain why his accounts are frozen and he needs to prove himself.

  • Steve Faulkner May 12, 2015
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    The IRS and state revenue departments have the power to do that, but I doubt the VA does.

  • Ben Sanders May 12, 2015
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    ""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."

    20 years of steady employment and you don't have $1,600 in liquid assets set aside?

  • Lorna Schuler May 12, 2015
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    Your bank accounts at any bank or credit union can be frozen if a government entity puts a freeze or demand for pay on it. Don't believe it, try not paying your taxes for a bit and see what happens.

  • Steve Faulkner May 12, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    Why would Navy Federal freeze your accounts? As noted several times already, NFCU and VA are completely separate entities.

  • Kenny Dunn May 12, 2015
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    Excellent! Hopefully your pain will help others.

  • Shay Powers Walsh May 11, 2015
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    We did not say it was Navy Federal Credit Union's fault, we said because of the error our account was frozen at navy federal credit union. We have no idea who it was, according to the VA it was clerical typo, VA Clerk typed wrong SSN in and did not verify the names. We wanted to get our story out because we now know the steps and are sharing the steps to take if this ever happens to a fellow Veteran.

  • Jeff N April Camillo May 11, 2015
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    The proof is I am standing here looking at you and carrying on a conversation. I'm not dead, but your brain might be.

  • Mark Farmer May 11, 2015
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    Navy Federal Credit Union, Has Nothing To Do With The VA.

  • Mark Farmer May 11, 2015
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    Ron Coleman

    Same Here Fayetteville, VA

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