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    Posted March 5, 2014 by
    Dyersburg, Tennessee
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

    VA wronging widow

    My name is Betty Stewart and I live in Dyersburg, TN. I am writing you today hoping that you can help me or at least lead me in the right direction. I currently work for the state of Tennessee as a probation and parole office.
    My husband was in the military for many years. He served active duty in Vietnam (full-time military) and in Iraq (TN national guard). My husband was killed in July 2006. After his death I was told I could draw his military pension due to his years of active duty. I drew $661 for 4 years. After 4 years the VA came back and told me that I was not entitled to draw that much money. They reduced it to $342 saying that the rest would be used to pay back overpayment and that I owed them $7700. Six months later they came back and stated I was not entitled to draw any of the money and now want me to pay back $43,000 in which I was told I was entitled to.
    As you can see above, I am very confused on why I should have to pay this money back. I understand that I must pay it back because they said I owed it but after investigation I discovered that it was because I made over $14,000 a year. In 2005, the law was changed that if a spouse made over $14,000 a year they were not entitled to draw. Well, my husband died in 2006 after the law was changed and they still gave it to me. This should not be held against me.
    Now the issue has been turned over to the treasury department and they are going to garnish my wages. I live on a very fixed income. I make $31,000 a year and have a grandson at home that I am helping to take care of. I called and spoke to the treasury to try to work out an agreement on a payment plan and they told me that the only payment they would do was $1200 a month for 36 months. I explained to the lady that I lived on fixed income. She stated that the best she could do would be $850 a month. Can you please help me to understand how a widow on a fixed income can afford a payment like that? They are now threating to take everything I have to get there money. I am scared and have no idea what I am going to do to fix this problem.
    My husband loved his country and served his country for many years and this is the thanks we are getting from our government. I am reaching out to you today for help. I am not sure which way to turn.

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