VA letter tells veteran he's dead

AUSTIN, TX (KVUE/CNN) - A Vietnam veteran received a letter from the Department of Veteran Affairs informing him he was dead, and demanding his family pay back thousands of dollars in benefits.

"I died Jan. 15 of this year," said very much alive Charles Hubbard.

The Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War said he learned about his untimely demise in the letter that also said his family had to pay back money received after his death.

"Our records show the deceased was not entitled to benefits in the amount of $5,270 and 0 cents. The VA said I was deceased, and they closed my checking account when the bank found out," Hubbard said.

Hubbard suspects the problem started after a man stole his identity and used it to get treatment at a California hospital.

The man who stole his identity then passed away.

"When I received a hospital bill of almost $300,000 in California I said, 'hold on.' And they called me, they want me to pay it," Hubbard said.

Hubbard received a government pension around $1,000 a month.

It's been three months since he's gotten any money to pay bills or buy food.

"We got a food bank here, and the one at the church where I go, that's where I get my food from," Hubbard said.

Hubbard also feared he wouldn't be able to pay for his Section 8 housing.

The landlord cut him a break – only charging $25 a month until he gets his pension back.

That could take a while.

"I keep calling. They say it could take up to eight months," Hubbard said.

In the meantime, Hubbard keeps reassuring his daughter and grandkids he's still around, and waits for the VA to officially bring him back to life.

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