Veterans Administration Back Charges Triple Amputee Brian Kolfage Thousands of Dollars

Senior Airman, Brian Kolfage Jr., the most severely wounded Airman in US history---a triple amputee---was informed recently by the Veterans Administration Debt Management Center that he would be back charged $4825.00. According to the VA, they had been overpaying Airman Kolfage for several years and they want their money back.

Senior Airman, Brian Kolfage Jr.

Senior Airman, Brian Kolfage Jr.

On September 11, 2004, while serving his second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Brian Kolfage lost both his legs and an arm when a 107 mm rocket exploded three feet from the Airman, throwing him into a wall of sandbags. Brian miraculously survived the blast and after eleven months at Walter Reed Medical Center, he returned to serve in the Air Force at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. Kolfage is no longer on active duty and receives monthly VA benefits compensation for the wounds he received serving our country.

Grave injuries: He was badly wounded in the 2004 attack and had more than a dozen surgeries in the months after

Grave injuries: He was badly wounded in the 2004 attack and had more than a dozen surgeries in the months after

A few months back, Kolfage---who once served on former Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford's Veterans Advisory Committee and is an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration---received notification dated September 12, 2013 that his file had been pulled and investigated by the VA. After an Arizona background check, the VA claimed that Brian was overpaid, each month, for several years. According to the VA, Brian's indebtedness---for this alleged overpayment of $4825.00--would require monthly payments of $105 to be taken out of his benefits account until the debt was satisfied.

The VA justification for the back charge stemmed from Arizona court records---the VA claimed---showing Brian was not married and not entitled to the full amount of benefits he had been receiving.

Wedding bells: Kolfage married Ashley Goetz in 2011, saying that it was a 'dream come true'

Wedding bells: Kolfage married Ashley Goetz in 2011, saying that it was a 'dream come true'

Since Brian was in fact remarried, he provided the necessary legal documentation to the VA and was told that an error had been made and the problem would be cleared up and no indebtedness existed. Moreover, the Veterans Administration said there would be no back charge against his benefits. To quote Brian: "They even sent me a document last month [September] saying everything was reviewed, updated and good to go."

On October 29, 2013, Kolfage received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Debt Management Center, and Operations Division Chief explaining that his indebtedness balance had been reduced by a $105.00 through a reduction of his monthly benefits.

After several frustrating attempts to contact the VA through the 1-800 number provided in the VA Debt Management Center correspondence, Brian has yet to hear back from anyone about the ongoing reductions in his monthly benefits. After losing an arm and two legs in service to his country, it appears that his government may require Brian to offer his remaining arm to resolve their error.

In my conversations with Brian, one thing is abundantly clear. This man is an unselfish Patriot. Kolfage is not as angry as he is frustrated. His first concerns are for his fellow veterans struggling with an unproductive Veterans Administration, VA backlogs and a system that adds unnecessary stress to the lives of men---he served with---who already struggle with monstrous stresses related to recovery and re-assimilation back into life after combat. They should not have to fight their government for the help the need and are owed.

He is also more concerned about you, then himself. His courage is unimaginable.

Against all odds: Brian Kolfage lost his right arm and both legs in a 2004 attack (and is seen here receiving an award after the attack) but has started a new life, adapting to his limitations

Against all odds: Brian Kolfage lost his right arm and both legs in a 2004 attack (and is seen here receiving an award after the attack) but has started a new life, adapting to his limitations

Given his experience with government-administered healthcare, Airman Brian Kolfage is worried about the long-term effects on each and every one of his fellow Americans who will now be forced to look toward their government for Healthcare. Brian feels, and I paraphrase, that Obamacare much like the Veterans Administration is not capable of handling the healthcare needs of an entire nation. He is worried that Americans will be forced to argue with the Department of Health and Human Services and live with IRS enforced back charges and fines for unconfirmed allegations of misrepresentation similar to what he is dealing with at the VA.

Personally, I cannot help but wonder if Brian Kolfage's mysterious file re-evaluation and indebtedness determination was another Obama retribution designed to silence yet another critic. Nowhere in any of the correspondence sent to Kolfage has the VA offered an explanation for their decision to do a random background check on a wounded warrior who has been rebuilding his life. Given his service to our nation, Brian's life must be well documented at the Department of Defense. So why all the concern now?

For me, this man does not owe a damn thing to anyone. He already gave more than enough. We should be kissing his ass every day, not tormenting him with useless letters and requests for follow up. This is a disgrace. Of all people, why Brian Kolfage?

I would think that the government could find a considerable amount of money to handle any alleged overpayments to our veterans through an audit of President Obama's vacation travel expenses or the operations at his sanctimonious 501 © (3) tax exempt social welfare group, "Organizing for Action."

All of this for one hundred and five dollars. Someone needs to be fired.

Note: The VA national benefits case backlog exceeds 750,000. In my state Texas, many veterans wait 365 days for a case determination. In some states, the wait can be as long as 500 days.

UPDATE: Many who have read Brian's story have emailed us asking how you can help Brian financially. Brian has told us he is grateful for the sentiment, but is pretty much taken care of. However, Brian fears there are other veterans who are not as privileged as him financially that this is happening to, and so he wants to get the word out that if this happens to those who are not taken care of as he is, that something like this could be devastating to them.

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  • Pam Richardson

    I have the same issue with VA. When I was in the hospital having life saving surgeries plus in a coma The VA sent a check to my mother's house, even though that was not my address the check for $4820.00 and my name was on the check without any one endorsing the back of the check it was deposited in a bank account. The VA said since the check was issued with my name I am responsible for the amount. Even though I couldn't asked for any money medically unable. I am being forced to pay $135.00 a month until it is paid back but no one will help to find out who this check was deposited by and I like thousands of veterans are paying the USA with my legs now my income.

  • Marilyn Scales Brown

    Are all of you so unintelligent to think that PRESIDENT Obama and those surrounding him would not know that actions such as these would lead to just such idiotic talk.

  • Jude O'Connor

    it's the silent army that serves the left that takes it's orders from the WH. The Clintons racked up 130 dead from their trip from Arkansas to the WH. Read "Inside Delta Force"

  • marlio

    contact your senator and keep writing letters to the president, the health adm and your paper until this being, masquerading as president is voted out!! Then the next president, who will be legitimate, will void your, non debt, as far as I;m concerned!!! This is just pure malice on the part of the president indicating how little and petty he really is!!!

  • f8tule

    While I hate giving my money to the worthless government, I do believe it is time to set up a fund for these wounded warriors so that they don't get the shaft after serving our country and giving their lives or limbs for our country..

  • susan

    And Obamacare will certainly provide medical care for others with horrific injures???? NOT!!! What kind of government do we have that would even think about "charging" a Veteran injured this way? How appropriate that we hear about this on Nov. 10 with tomorrow being Veteran's Day. He should be given millions of dollars -- and he would if he could sue for damages like an ordinary citizen could if injured in an auto accident or at work in any workplace other than our USA Military.

  • Lynne McCalister Gunning

    I am also an A1C but am out since 1982, I am sending blessings for the best life possible. I hope that the computerized letters stop coming and the automated payments keep coming! Best of Luck! P.S. received is e before

  • Linda Tompkins

    Why does this not surprise me.

  • armedandsafe

    VA = Deny, deny, deny, you die ... case closed.

  • Cristie Landis

    as a widow of a vet that received 40% service connected disability, I found myself homeless and jobless. I now receive a widows pension (well I was granted a widows pension but have yet to actually see a check) the total amount is $348.00 a month and if I get a job (I am disabled so unlikely) I will lose that.. I am living on other peoples couches because I can not afford to even rent a house why are widows and vets treated so badly....because no one cares about being a patriot any more if I had money I would give to vets not va or all the organizations there are plenty of vets and widows and orphans in your own cities go to them bring them food pay their light bill what ever but do for them leave the gov OUT of it show your support by helping them with whatever you are able to help with stop leaving it up to the gov and obumer.

  • OTH Guy

    This is what happens when bureaucrats make decisions. Instead of using common sense they hide behind a continual stream of red tape and incompetance.

  • fanciladi

    Veterans to the VA are just a number. They don't give a $hit about them, in fact, I don't think they give one about the 'we the people' except for collecting taxes. Someone I know is in his 15th year of waiting for his promised disability benefits.

    The government had rather give $$$ to their friends in companies that go belly-up; their friends 'period' (a word we have become familiar with lately); themselves; other countries and who knows what/who else.

    It's downright sickening!!!

    • grafra102

      @fanciladi: I disagree with you about the comment you MADE about the VA!!! "I AM 7 YEAR CANCER SURVIVOR BECAUSE OF THE VA" Yes, they do give a $hit about the veterans. Now do not mix up what "ODUMBO" is doing because he is the one that does not give a "$HIT" about we Americans, and the veterans. He is nothing but a "TRAITOR, COMMIE" and what ever adj. goes with that. As for your friend in his 15th year not getting his disability, it is his fault, remember a squeaky wheel gets the oil, obviously he did not "SQUEAK" loud enough!!! I also had a "TOTAL LFT KNEE REPLACEMENT" last year with the VA and I am walking!! I agree that the Government is putting monies where it could be used here in America, do not blame the VA for that, go back to "ODUMBO" and his "HALF BROTHER" where he is sending it to, to fight against we Americans. All I can say only "AZZHOLES" like you like to shoot off your big mouth and you do not know it all!!!! Last but not least, I get "DAMN GOOD CARE AT THE VA"!!!
      A UNITED STATES AIR FORCE VETERAN(and proud of it)!!

    • fanciladi

      SO, you were one of the lucky ones. Well, there are many, many others who did not and are no faring as well as you. Ask Veterans who have been waiting 14 plus YEARS for the Disability Benefits what they think of the VA!!! Ask a neighbor of mine who had a hip replacement with a defective hip. There are many horror stories with the VA! What about the one I heard of a woman who had her lungs over inflated and wasn't told that it was there fault or why she had to be on oxygen now until the statue of limitations was over.

      Yes, you are one of the lucky ones. My son Marine who served in Desert Storm is still waiting and waiting and waiting.............for his promised benefits!

    • fanciladi

      Oh, and we agree with you on the description of the one in the White House.

      Consider your own self an AZZHOLE for something I know about that you have no clue about. Different things happen to different people who are being treated by the VA! You are flapping your gums about something you know nothing about!

      As I said before, YOU are one of the lucky ones!!!

  • schmuck281

    Being retired Army I have to deal with Tricare and the VA for my healthcare. That, together with my experience with government healthcare while on active duty, makes me very leery of government provided healthcare.

    In fact, looking forward, I can see the military forcing retirees into the Obamacare exchanges, with a subsidy, of course. But still, with an overall decrease in coverage and an increase in copays and deductibles.

    I do not get a warm and fuzzy feeling about this.

    • fanciladi

      My son said he's heard talk of Veterans and Obamacare. He has said many times, if you want to see what government run healthcare is like check out the VA!

    • grafra102

      @fanciladi: "JUST CAN NOT SHUT YOUR MOUTH" can you??

    • fanciladi

      And you open yours before you know what's behind someone else's comment. My Marine son has every right to tell me his opinion of what he's personally seen going on at the VA. He goes to the VA and knows first hand what he's talking about. As I said in my last reply to you... YOU are one of the lucky ones.

    • fanciladi

      Oh, I forgot to mention what I meant about Veterans and Obamacare. There's been talk about throwing the Veterans into that program. Doesn't that excite you!

      I'll add Shame on you for your rudeness!

    • grafra102

      @schmuck281: Remember do not blame the "MILITARY OR THE VA" blame where the blame belongs!!!! "ODUMBO"!!!!!! "AND ALL YOUR DEMOCRAPS"!!!

  • ConsciouslySpeaking

    The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds
    last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money
    going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland! 343 refunds went to ONE single address in Shanghai.

    How about this you disgraceful, pathetic idiots at "Veteran's Affairs" - We (The People) will POSSIBLY discuss your "Claim" against Airman Kolfage when and IF you get back every penny of your fellow Government Employees incompetent actions!

    How dare you!

    Oh - and by the way... there is ONE upside to having Never Served as "Regular Enlisted Property" of the DOD - I can say exactly what I think about your incompetent stupidity and lack of fitness for your Job all I want, I can also assemble a formidable group of Tax Payers calling for your Termination, and while I recognize that's a Long Shot for anyone in upper management ... there are plenty of you lowly "Sacrificial Lambs" laying around - feeling Lucky?

    • grafra102

      @Consciously Speaking: As for your comment, you do not know what the "HELL" you are talking about. Most of the employees at the VA are "VETERANS" and you are talking to one right now. I worked for the VA and all you "JACKAZZEZ" talk through your "AZZEZ" and also to tell you I served my country proudly... UNITED STATES AIR FORCE. "GET GREAT CARE WITH THE VA"!!!

    • ConsciouslySpeaking

      @ grafra102:
      Do you feel better after getting that off your chest? Now, with all name calling aside I admit I failed to SPECIFICALLY direct my comment to the bean counters at the Debt Management Center, however given THAT was the Topic and not "Patient Services or Treatment Rendered" and that I tied it back to the - here I go again - idiots at the IRS, I assumed my focus was obvious. My bad!

      I have been a Contractor in numerous capacities with the VA for years and my "Issues or Ire" are almost entirely limited to the "Administration, Assistant Secretary or God Forbid the OIG" level. In my experience these upper level positions are appointed or hired and are seldom filled by someone who has "worked their way up" from Pt. Services.

      As for the area where the heavy lifting is done - the direct service / care providers I totally agree with you. The Vets and Employees who are hands on or local management people are Saints in my book and you'd be included in that based on your comment. The heart and dedication generally demonstrated to fellow Vets and Wounded Warriors, and I've said this numerous times before, appears to be 75% Dedication and Labor of Love / 25% Paycheck. When you compare wages to "Industry Standard" in the private sector it's easy to see who's "under appreciated".

      As my comment related to Airman Kolfages' situation I was / am outraged that a "Billing, Debt Management Employee" would invoice him and levy his disability payments while the OMB, IRS and GSA hemorrhage fiscal waste and unaccountability DAILY. That was my anger and I punctuated it by pointing out my "Safety Net" allowing me to be completely honest and outspoken without the repercussions generally suffered (or potentially suffered) by anyone Active Duty, Reserve, Retired etc.

      I appreciate and respect your Service (and what you continue to do) greatly! If I confused you or others in making it appear I am critical of Direct Services I apologize. Am I frustrated by the "System"? yes! The time it takes to actually receive services in some circumstances and while I respect they are overwhelmed by the shear volume of people seeking services - there is a good deal of "Warehousing Patients" or dispensing medication as a stop gap measure. (Again, this falls back to Upper Administration). Maybe you have a different opinion or view from where you work, my area of expertise is in Mental Health Services and Chemical Dependency where it seems the higher you go in Administration (far removed from the providers) the greater the disconnect and failure to recognize the issues unique to Veterans. You cannot take what works with Civilians in the Private Sector and expect it to work with Vets.