Moran on V.A. Overpayments: What is their policy?

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran responded to a KAKE News Investigation into over-payments from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

“We reached out as soon as we heard the story, saw the story, to the V.A. to find out what is going on,” Moran said this week. “What is their policy? And what needs to be done…”

Moran is referring to a KAKE News Investigation, which found Curtis Allen, the man convicted in a Somali Bomb Plot busted in 2016, was still being paid full benefits from the Department, more than a year after his conviction.

V.A. policy states that veterans convicted and incarcerated should receive approximately 10% of any benefits they were granted. The policy goes on to state that veterans are to report themselves to the department, and that data matching agreements would catch anyone who didn’t.

An inspector general’s report found that hasn’t happened – and that the V.A. has over paid veterans by more than $200 million from 2008 to 2015. More recent data was not available.

But Lula Harris, Allen’s common law wife, had phone records which proved he was still being paid in full.

“He’s incarcerated,” she said. “I tried to talk to the most high-ups at the V.A. I could get and it was impossible.”

State lawmakers reacted, including Rep. John Wheeler.

“That a person receiving benefits is to self-report, if they’re sent to prison? That’s not going to work,” Wheeler said.

Senator Moran agrees that something needs to change.

“This is my opportunity to compliment the press and the media, because that is a story that came to my attention because of that investigation by KAKE,” he said. “That allowed us to know the facts.”

Moran said he wants to know how V.A. policy allowed the over-payments to happen.

“We reached out as soon as we heard the story, saw the story, to the V.A., to find out what is going on,” he said. “What is their policy and what needs to be done to make sure those that are.”

A V.A. spokeswoman insists changes were implemented after the IG report was released but didn’t provide evidence. That report was also released before the allegations of ove-rpayments to Allen were made.

Moran insists he will push the department for more information.

“We need to make sure the V.A. complies with that law,” he said.

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