Receive VA disability payments? You’ll want to check your account.

Matt Saintsing
July 03, 2018 - 12:58 pm

Dreamstime

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Multiple reports are surfacing of disabled veterans’ VA eBenefits accounts being compromised, and disability payments being stolen.

Just days before Aubrey and David Stevenson were to travel, David’s eBenefits account had been hacked and someone had re-routed his VA disability payment to a different account, according to KOAA, an NBC affiliate TV station in Pueblo, Colo.

“They shouldn’t be able to change my contact information and my direct deposit,” David told KOAA. “You should have to do that in person. You should definitely have to do that in person.”

According to the report, the Stevenson’s had not received a phone call from the VA asking them to confirm the direct deposit change. The VA instead mailed him a letter letting him know that the request had been processed.

The Colorado couple urges other veterans to “be on alert,” according to KOAA, and said they’re unaware how someone could have compromised the account.

On the same day KOAA ran their story, a similar report surfaced out of Somerset, Kentucky. A disabled veteran, who asked WKYT not to release his name, said he uses his disability check for all his monthly expenses.

“I’ve got what they call 80/20 disability,” the veteran told the Kentucky TV station. “80 percent is disability, 20 percent is employability because of my PTSD and all of that stuff.”

He says the VA informed him that his account had been hacked at the end of May. The Somerset veteran’s story is similar to David Stevenson in that someone had gotten his eBenefits account login and changed banking information.

In the cases of both Stevenson and the Kentucky vet, the VA told them it would take weeks to issue a new check. It’s unclear if these are isolated incidents, or a focused effort by hackers to steal from veterans who expect to see a disability check hit their accounts each month. 

In an email to Connecting Vets, VA press secretary Curt Cashour said, "nothing has been hacked" but that the agency has "on occasion learned of individual accounts that have been fraudulently accessed."

There are 7,295,018 active eBenefits accounts, according to the VA. Of those accounts, less than 0.11 percent have been fradulently accessed. "Safeguarding personally identifiable information (PII) is a Veteran’s best defense against being the victim of eBenefits and other fraud," said Cashour. 

Vets should never disclose their passwords or other identifiable information to any third party and should change their passwords. If you suspect you've been the victim of fraud, call VA at 1-800-827-1000 as quickly as possible. 

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