Vietnam veteran listed as 'dead,' benefits stop - - Columbia, South Carolina

Vietnam veteran listed as 'dead,' benefits stop


Morris Scott Sr. is very much alive. CBS46 News spoke with him at his home on Monday after Scott said the Department of Veterans Affairs listed him as dead and stopped sending his benefit checks.

"In March I got letter and a check, supposed to be a death check made out to Sharon Morris," Scott said.

The check had his deceased wife's first name correct, but had her last name listed as Scott's first name. He went to the regional office in Atlanta for Veterans Affairs and told them about the error.

"I took the check to the VA, turned the check into the VA to let them know I am not deceased," Scott said.

Over the course of the past four months Scott said he has gone to the regional office four times. Still, his benefits have not been reinstated. Scott has lost out on nearly $3,000 in earned benefits. The Vietnam veteran said he served his country and deserves better.

"Most people have no idea what real war is really all about," Scott said. "It is hell, the enemy will use your humanity to try and defeat you with it. I have lost five men from Vietnam who committed suicide since they returned home."

So far, Scott has received two letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs. They state clearly that he is not deceased and that it was his wife that died in 2013. Scott provided us with both letters, his wife's death certificate, and his updated VA card. He doesn't believe that the errors made to his account were an accident.

"I think someone is stealing from vets," Scott said. "Maybe somebody has figured out a way to steal money. That is the only reason you do certain things. That is not a computer glitch. You have to physically go into the computer system, pull that person's file up and physically change the data. And if they can change the data, they can change it back."

Scott becomes emotional talking about his wife Sharon, who passed away. He took care of her for nearly three years as she battled Alzheimer's disease. After dealing with Sharon's death, Scott never dreamed months later he would have to prove to the government he is still alive, and she is dead.

"It's rough," he said. "I am a pretty strong person but I have been getting hit from all sides."

Scott said if the $701 a month check is not reinstated soon, he will have to start selling items to continue to pay his bills.

"I'll sell the television, my washer and dryers, and the car if I have to," he said.

Despite how hard this has been on him, Scott still has a good sense of humor and joked about being listed as dead. Scott said he has lived his life following the code of the Marines Semper Fidelis, "Always Faithful." He said he has faith the government will do the right thing.

"It is frustrating. My hope is that the government gets back to where they need to be take care of the vets that come back home," Scott said.

Check back with for the latest developments on this story.

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