DUNEDIN, FL (WFLA) – Michael Rieker of Dunedin, FL served his country in Vietnam while in the U.S. Navy.
Rieker now receives benefits from the V.A. but noticed his check did not arrive in November. “Knowing how long things take with the VA, I thought I better give em a call and find what’s going on,” said Rieker.
When he called, a woman on the phone gave him some disturbing news. She informed him that V.A. records show that he was deceased. “She was staying pretty firm, I was dead,” said Rieker.
This is not the first time a Tampa Bay Area veteran has been told by the V.A. they are dead.
Rieker contacted the office of Congressman David Jolly. “One case is outrageous, but six is unacceptable. This type of error can create financial hardships and it is extremely disconcerting,” Jolly said. The Congressman was able to have Rieker’s benefits restored.
“I got a call this morning at 9:00 that said you’re alive and well,” said Reiker.
However, the Congressman is now asking the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to explain why the same mistake keeps happening. “If these problems are being caused by human error there is clearly no system of checks and balances, and if that’s not the case, the current system is flawed and must be fixed,” Jolly said.
Jolly is also asking the secretary for an accounting of how many times this has happened to other veterans across the country. “Obviously we need some answers from the VA on this,” said Jolly.