Harry Gross: State says veteran's estate owes 421G

Posted: February 08, 2013

D EAR HARRY: I received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs that set me back on my heels. The letter included a check for $23,852 payable to my son's estate. He died earlier this year in the Delaware Valley Veterans' Home after a long-term illness. The letter indicated that there was a claim by the home of $421,162 for the period of his illness. They wanted me to pay this money from my son's estate. His only estate was this check. On the advice of a lawyer, I sent them the money minus the lawyer's fee. I feel betrayed. I am a Korean war vet, and he was in Vietnam. I always thought that vets would be taken care of when they needed help. How can the government take away all of a vet's savings to pay for care? How can they be so callous and uncaring?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: They have made the judgment that his illness was not "service-related." Apparently, your lawyer agreed and chose not to appeal. I think it's worth a shot to have your lawyer contact the man who sent you the letter to see if there can be a reconsideration. It might also help to speak with your congressman. If the people at Indiantown Gap try to get you to pay anything out of your own assets, be sure to give them a flat "no."


Email Harry Gross at harrygrossDN@gmail.com or write to him at the Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia 19107.

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