KSL INVESTIGATES

Military Widow Told Burial Benefits For Late Husband Paid To Someone Else

Apr 8, 2021, 5:42 PM | Updated: 8:55 pm
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TAYLORSVILLE, Utah – Joe Valdez died in 2019 after a long battle with a chronic lung condition. But it was his battle decades ago during the war in Vietnam that earned Joe’s family a special benefit: the federal government would pay for his funeral.

His widow, Yolanda, says she can’t get feds to pay.

Yolanda showed the KSL Investigators letters where the Veteran’s Administration said her claim was flat out denied because the money had already been paid to someone else.

Yolanda said the VA would not tell her who was paid.

Yolanda said she’s been battling with the VA ever since. She has been the one overseeing Joe’s estate and she’s the one who paid for the funeral. When her fighting got her nowhere on her own, she decided it was time to call the KSL Investigators.

“I want to know who they paid the money to,” she said.

The KSL Investigators reached out to the Veteran’s Benefits Administration on Yolanda’s behalf and,  after an internal review, they admit they goofed.

In an email, a spokesman said they twice told Yolanda that “her claim for burial benefits was denied due to the benefit having previously been paid” but that “was inaccurate.”

What they really needed was for Yolanda to sign a form.

Within one day of KSL’s call to the VA, they straightened it out and paid the “maximum benefit allowed by law,” to reimburse Yolanda – a little more than $1000.

The VA said they sincerely apologize for the errors and any added hardship they may have caused during an already difficult time.

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Military Widow Told Burial Benefits For Late Husband Paid To Someone Else