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Veterans: Death confirmation and separation pay procedures updated

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented a new policy change that affects all veterans. The VA is currently in the process of updating its procedure to request further confirmation of a veteran's death before it terminates any and all payments to the veteran. Basically, the process will now involve more exhaustive confirmation of a veteran's death before payments are stopped. For instance, when VA officials believe that a veteran has died, the VA will send a letter to his or her address on file and request confirmation of the death from a surviving family member. If the VA doesn't receive a response from the family — or from a veteran erroneously believed to be dead — only then will the VA terminate payments permanently.

Under federal law, until veterans pay back their involuntary separation pay, they can have their VA disability compensation withheld. The reason for this is due to 10 USC 1174, a federal law precluding duplication of benefits. The law requires that the VA recoup military separation benefits paid by the Department of Defense in cases where a veteran is subsequently awarded VA compensation. VA disability benefits can be withheld if a veteran receives readjustment pay, non-disability severance pay, separation pay, reservist involuntary separation pay, special separation benefits, voluntary separation pay or disability severance pay. The VA is required to withhold some or all of a veteran's monthly compensation until recoupment is complete. The process can take months or years to complete. [Source: U.S. Veteran Compensation Programs, July 10, 2017]

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at and as always have a great week.