Outrageous Army Vet Mistakenly Declared Dead by VA
On January 8, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sent Dee Fales a letter regarding her husband that read, "We are sorry to learn about the death of James Fales and extend to you our deepest sympathy."
The letter came as a complete shock, mostly because her husband is alive and well.
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. James Fales and Dee Fales appeared on "Fox and Friends Weekend" this morning to discuss this unbelievable story.
Fales said it was a shock to hear of his own demise, but then it became somewhat humorous to a point.
It was not a laughing matter, however, when they discovered that the VA mistakenly declaring him dead led to his benefits being ceased.
"The benefits side of the VA said I was dead," Fales explained. "The health care side of it wasn't affected. So I've been dead for a month in one computer system of the VA and I was still making doctors' appointments in the other part of the system."
Fales pointed out that the U.S. military is planning on a 200,000 to 230,000 soldier reduction in force in the near future.
"If the system's having problems now, what's going to happen when you add that many more to it?"
The VA has apologized for the mix-up and said it is working diligently to resolve the issue.
Fales contacted the VA using a number normally used to report the death of a veteran.
“They asked to verify who I was calling about, and I told them ‘By the way, this is me!'” Fales said. “And the only response I got on the phone was, ‘Oh boy.’ So now they are processing me to put me back as alive in the VA system.”
The condolence letter sent to the Fales is dated Jan. 8, 2015, but Fales said he got a call from the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks on Jan. 12 asking for a follow-up doctor’s appointment.
“Their systems aren’t talking to each other,” Fales said. “If they’re saying I was deceased on the eighth, then how was this doctor calling me this Monday, and making me an appointment?”
Fales and his wife have found some humor in the situation.
“Since the government says I’m dead now, can I stop paying taxes?” Fales joked.
The Fales are optimistic the VA error will be fixed without impacting his medical care.
“The effect [the error] is going to have on my benefits, and my health care, until they get it straight; I have no idea,” Fales said.
Watch more above.