Widow wants VA to reimburse her for lost one-time benefits

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- Last November, Betty Bonner's husband died. The Vietnam veteran had an illness.

"His heart just stopped," said Bonner.

Since November, she has been trying to get her husband's one-time survivor benefits from Veterans Affairs. She said she is eligible for it.

"I will tell you the truth," said Bonner. "I am very frustrated."

Frustrated because fifteen days after Larry Bonner passed away, the VA issued her a check of $2,973, the one-time benefits. But it was sent to a post office box, a secondary address, instead of her home. Bonner said she never received it and doesn't know for sure who did.

She said the VA told her she was responsible for providing the correct address.

"I've been here 28 years," she said, "and I get mail from the VA at this address."

She said she has made numerous calls to the VA and each time she is given an inquiry number but no resolution to her problem.

"Nobody seems to know what is going on," she said.

Bonner said her husband's health was in rapid decline. He suffered from PTSD, early dementia and cancer. She said she was satisfied with the VA and how Larry was treated, until now.

"There are wonderful people who work for the VA," said Bonner, "and I have heard the rumble over the years but never understood why until now."

She said all she wants is the one time survivor benefits to reimburse her for some of the funeral costs.

"I feel they owe me the one month. Larry and I have been married for 31 years," said Bonner.

First Coast News contacted the VA's office at Pine Bay in St. Petersburg, Fla. and we are waiting on a response. FCN was told the media's two contact people have retired and the interim will be available next week.


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