My name is Jesse Crain. In 2004 I joined the Army right out of high school. I ended up spending just over 7 years of service to the military. In those 7 years I completed two tours of duty, one to Afghanistan and one to Iraq. Being in the military this long wore down my body to a point where when I got out in 2011 I filed for disability through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Army left me with a pretty good laundry list of problems ranging from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to bilateral tinnitus. Since getting out in October of 2011 I have received a monthly compensation for disability through the VA. This monthly amount is direct deposited to my bank account and the extra money makes my life so much more easy. However, on Friday, February 28 I did not receive this money. The 1st of March fell on a weekend so the VA will usually send the money out the Friday before the 1st in this case. I couldn't call the VA right away because when you call the number it will always tell you that the number of people on the line is too great and that you should call back after hours to set up a callback appointment. Of course the VA isn't open on the weekends so I had to wait for my callback on Monday, March 3rd. After speaking to the representative with the VA, it was revealed that on February 10th someone had fraudulently changed my direct deposit information. The representative of course couldn't tell me the account number that it had been changed to but could tell me that based on the routing number my disability payment was going to Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T), which is primarily located in the southern states. Beyond this, the representative couldn't give me any information as to who fraudulently changed my direct deposit information or how. Furthermore, the VA representative told me what I needed to do to fix this problem. He told me that I needed to fill out a VA Direct Deposit Enrollment form, fill out my personal statement, and file a police report. I completed all three of these things that day. Of course I wouldn't be able to fax it to the VA until I got the police report back. After filing the report with the Beaverton Police Department (BPD), the officer that took my report told me that the report would be ready in 7-10 business days. About 10 days went by and hadn't received word from BPD. After giving the records department of BPD a call it was revealed that in order to get my report I would need to fill out a police report request form, then it takes 7-10 business days before I can receive it. I finally received my police report on March 27th. I faxed the three items off that very day. About 3 weeks later on April 11th I received a letter in the mail from the VA telling me there was an error in processing my claim and that I needed to resubmit my paper work. Frustrated, I double checked and faxed off the paperwork that day. I gave it some time and gave the VA a call on the 28th of April and inquired to my direct deposit information. It was revealed on that day that the representative showed no record of my paperwork being received to the VA, however, he did take note of my prior inquiries and pushed it forward as an "urgent notification" in the VA system. Hopeful that this might resolve something I set up a callback for today and spoke with a representative. The representative was able to tell me that the VA has received my paper work but has not been updated it in the system. That means that it has taken the VA over a month to receive my paperwork and is getting around to entering a 9 digit routing number and a 10 digit account number. 19 numbers being entered into the system of the VA are standing between me and what is owed to me from the VA. Since the 28th of February, the VA has failed to pay me 3 times because the bureaucracy of their system is so abundant and thick it's near impossible to get anything done. To this date, the Department of Veterans Affairs owes me $3,937.20. Who knows if I'm the only one that was targeted, I doubt it. It's bad enough that someone would go ahead and steal money from Veterans, but for the VA to put the victims through this, make them jump threw these hoops, and play the waiting game is almost as bad. I’m sending this to KATU news because I think this is a subject that deserves light to be shed upon it and hopefully an effort to hold the VA’s feet to the fire. That and it’s utterly ridiculous that I should have to wait this long for the this problem to be resolved.
Someone is stealing from Veterans.
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