Sunday, February 1, 2009

Disabled Vet Says Mix-Up Threatens Benefits

Disabled Vet Says Mix-Up Threatens Benefits
VA Has Him Confused With Illinois Inmate

POSTED: 9:43 pm EST February 1, 2009
UPDATED: 10:31 pm EST February 1, 2009

BOSTON -- For five years, John J. Davis of Tewksbury has been fighting with the Department of Veteran Affairs.

"They've got a prison ID number for me and the prisoner is in Statesville Correctional Center in Illinois, and they're saying that's me," said Davis.

This John J. Davis is an Army veteran who was injured after being drafted in 1970. The other is an incarcerated felon who apparently uses an unfortunate alias.

"His name is whatever, but when he goes to jail he uses John J. Davis," said Davis. "[He has] the same name as mine, and he has the same birthday as mine."

Last March, the Department of Veterans Affairs sent Davis a letter threatening to reduce his benefits because he's incarcerated. He sent in payroll records proving he lives and works locally. The VA wrote back saying it had reconsidered and would not reduce his checks. A few months later, another letter accused Davis of being a felon. And then came the final straw.

"They had sent him my Social Security number in prison telling him he was going to be losing his checks," Davis said.

Davis worried his identity would be stolen.

"He doesn't have to steal it," Davis said. "It was mailed to him."

NewsCenter 5 contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs. A spokesman wrote, "I would like to inform you that we have identified the mistake made on John J. Davis's case and have taken the necessary action to correct the situation."

The VA said it is preparing a written explanation and an apology as well.

"I'll believe them five or six years from now if nothing happens over the next five to six years," Davis said. "As of right now, do I believe them? No, because it hasn't stopped."
VA Has Him Confused With Illinois Inmate

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