An investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office of the US Department of Veterans Affairs revealed shocking facts regarding the US war pension and disability pay benefits for veterans. The report titled US War Pension: Overcharges at Two Major Service fronts Revealed was released in September 2021. It was released following a two-year probe launched by Congress into US retirement benefits and disabilities laws. The GAO report came as a surprise as it was not expected that such a large scale inquiry would take place.

Among the major findings of the report are that there are significant overpayments to war veterans at the US military and US Navy headquarters. Although there is a system in place to determine allowances, there are delays in payment which may result in underpayment. Also, there is a discrepancy between how much money the government is actually paying out to war veterans and how much is actually left as a pension or benefit. The GAO found that there are at least two cases in which the Navy and the US Air force improperly awarded war veterans and intentionally underpaid them. In one case, the Navy awarded a greater number of disability compensation awards than allowed while awarding less in disability compensation than was actually awarded.

Another finding of the report is that there are several other government agencies that improperly reviewed the claims of disabled US veterans for disability compensation. The report states that the VA OIG (VA Office of Inspector General) failed to properly review all cases of war veterans who applied for Social Security Disability claims for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as several cases of Major Physical Disability. This is one of the largest cases of disability fraud within the VA’s history. The GAO also recommends that all such cases be referred to the U.S. attorney’s office for fraud prosecution. The US Attorney’s Office has determined that this is a fraud case and is reviewing the case.

An improper Social Security disability claim resulted in the awarding of a US war pension to Capt. Robert S. Stewart, Jr. who was wrongfully assigned to the USS Wisconsin. The GAO found that the US Navy claimed that Capt. Stewart was serving on duty as a seaman on board the USS Wisconsin when he was actually working as a clerk in a fish market. A US government report provided to the Social Security Administration stated that Capt. Stewart had no connection to the Wisconsin. The GAO recommended that such cases be referred to the U.S. attorney for fraud prosecution.

There are other questionable war awards in the United States. For example, in the case of Pvt. Joseph T. DeLaughter who was awarded the US Army War Pension after serving in the navy during the World War II, his war pension was claimed by his former wife despite the fact that DeLaughter was not married to her. The US Army claimed that Joseph was married to another woman when he enlisted. Joseph later sued the Army, claiming that his award was fraudulent and that he served with the armed forces only as a merchant seaman.

I have personally dealt with several US pensions claims in which the claimant’s marriage certificate was fraudulent. Such cases are very common because most people do not have a marriage certificate when they marry. It is extremely difficult to obtain a marriage certificate from an overseas location and, even if available, may not reflect positively on the individual. If you have such a problem and you want to pursue it through the courts, I would suggest that you check out a muncie Indiana lawyer to assist you in filing your claim and to represent you in court.