Vets in Prison Have Collected Over $100 Million in Bogus Federal Payments
Policy + Politics

Vets in Prison Have Collected Over $100 Million in Bogus Federal Payments

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Military veterans incarcerated after criminal convictions were improperly paid more than $100 million in federal benefits from 2008-2015, and a total of more than $300 will have been wasted by 2020 if improvements are not made.

Related: Thousands of Vets May Have Been Diagnosed With Brain Injuries They Don’t Have

In an audit of disability and pension benefits payments to vets behind bars by the Veterans Affairs Administration, the department’s Inspector General found that federal prisoners got almost $59.9 million in improper payments between 2008 and 2015. An additional $44 million in improper payments were made to vets in state and local penal institutions in just 2013 and 2014.

According to the IG report, the VA is required to cut back on disability compensation and pension benefits to veterans who have been jailed for more than 60 days. It found that in more than 50 percent of federal cases, the VA regional offices and the unit that oversees pensions had failed to act.

Related: More than 125,000 U.S. Veterans of the Middle East Were Denied VA Benefits

The IG said that if its recommendations were not followed, the government would be on track to shell out over $200 million more in bogus payments between now and 2020.

In one example cited, a veteran was convicted of felony charges and sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison in April 2012. By October 2015, he had been overpaid $107,000.