July 12, 2023
By Nick Reisman
Access to pension benefits administered by the Veterans Administration could be improved under legislation proposed Wednesday by Rep. Elise Stefanik.
The measure is meant to strengthen the issuing process for benefits when they are impacted by the death of a beneficiary and ensure veterans receive their accrued pension benefit in the event of a month of death-claim or if payment has been issued during the month of a death.
The proposal, which has bipartisan support, was introduced after the death of World War II veteran Ernest Peltz, who died after being approved for his accrued pension benefit. Due to a processing error by the VA, the department did not deposit his approved funds until after his death. Stefanik’s office said the money was then removed from Peltz’s bank account, even though he was still living when the benefit was approved.
The lack of money left Peltz’s family to attend to the expenses related to his care.
Stefanik’s office introduced the measure with Democratic Rep. Andy Kim. Stefanik’s office worked with Charles Peltz, Ernest Peltz’s son, to develop the legislation.
“Our nation should take great pride in awarding our veterans the benefits due to them from their service. Sadly, the Peltz family’s encounter with the VA’s bureaucratic red tape is too often the case for many of our veteran families in Upstate New York, the North Country, and across America. I’m proud to take action on behalf of the Peltz family and all our veteran families to work to cut through the bureaucracy our veterans face,” Stefanik said. “I am proud to introduce this legislation to honor the legacy of World War II veteran Mr. Ernest Peltz and take one step forward in improving the effectiveness of an agency infamous for regulatory red tape.”
Read the article in Spectrum News 1 here.