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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 17, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Vets’ spouses should have received benefits

Not a glitch

The story “Surviving spouses denied vets’ benefits” said that a “computer glitch is blamed” for this travesty [News, Dec. 14]. This is in no way true. As the story states, Congress passed a law in 1996 giving veterans’ spouses the right to keep their partner’s final month of benefits. Congress instructed the VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] to make the changes to comply with the rules.

The VA never updated its automated computer systems that send out checks and notification letters. It was not a “computer glitch” that caused this mess. The story said that it was a failure of the VA. That is only partially true.

There is an actual, live human being who either illegally decided not to comply with the lawful orders of Congress or carelessly failed to do his job, which the public pays him/her to do.

In the first case, the person at fault should be tried, convicted, fined and jailed. In the second case, the person should be fired, and then sued in civil court. To blame this on a “computer glitch” is ludicrous. To assign blame to an organization, such as the VA, is pure obfuscation and clouding of the truth.

— Bruce Miller, Issaquah

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