The VA has to pay the new raises given to Doctors.
The first letter addressed to the late David Perry arrived five weeks after he died at home June 5.
Sent from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the envelope was to be opened “by addressee only.” Perry’s wife Helena opened it anyway.
“You remain eligible to receive (VA) health benefits,” it read. A handwritten yellow sticky note added, “Please provide copy of death certificate.”
Helena thought she’d notified VA. Regardless, she said, “It’s kind of hard for him to open it when he’s not here – and even harder for him to send the death certificate.”
Several days later, a VA billing statement addressed to David Perry arrived. Helena opened that one too. Her late husband, it seemed, owes the government 59 cents.
“So if it’s not paid by October the 11th, I’m going to have additional – or he will have additional charges on his 59 cents,” she said. “So I did call and talk to them, and informed them again that he was dead, and I just didn’t think he would be able to pay it.”
She pointed to the envelope and its pre-printed postage. “And how ridiculous to pay 48 cents to send it?”
On Sept. 4, VA sent David Perry another reminder: to get a flu shot.[...]
he Department of Veterans Affairs offers its condolences to the Perry family,” said Walinda West, VA’s deputy director for media relations. She would not comment on the Perry situation, citing the need for a release from Helena Perry, but said standard practice is to update records once notification is received so that such letters cease to be sent. She said VA “is reviewing” the case.
“I read so much about the Veterans Administration being fouled up,” Helena Perry said, referring to the ongoing scheduling scandal that has launched investigations at 93 VA medical centers and clinics, including Wilmington. “And … with people like that running it, I can see why it’s fouled up.”[...]
She’s probably not going to pay the 59 cents. After she got the bill, she called the toll-free number on the bill and reached a customer service rep named Cecil.
“I told him about this big bill that I had, and being as my husband was dead, I just didn’t understand why we had it,” she said. He asked how much and she said, “It’s 59 cents. And I thought Cecil was going to crack up.
“He couldn’t say ‘Don’t pay it’,” she said. “I said, ‘I’m not gonna pay it’,” she said. “And he said, ‘I think we’re on the same page’.”