I-TEAM: Military veteran says his retirement checks stopped & he’s owed thousands

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A St. Augustine Navy veteran tells the News4JAX I-TEAM the retirement benefits he’s been getting for years suddenly stopped in February and that the government now owes him nearly $7,000.

Mark Aul retired from the Navy in 2002 after 21 years of service. Every month, he’s received his retirement benefit check of about $1,300.

“The only thing I can say is: whiskey tango foxtrot,” Aul said. “What happened now?

He was blown away. He says he hasn’t been paid since January, with the government now owing him $6,810.

“Fortunately, my wife has a good job,” Aul said.

He reached out to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, also known as DFAS, which provides payment services for the Department of Defense.

“One person told me, well, it was referred to our fraud division,” Aul said.

He shared a letter with I-TEAM, dated March 3 from DFAS, saying his account had been suspended because “quote-payments sent to your retired payment address on file have been returned to this facility.”

The letter asked him to verify his information, and he showed the I-TEAM the documents he sent back to DFAS — complete with the shipping receipt.

He said he hadn’t yet heard back as of Friday.

We reached out to DFAS, and a few hours later, Aul heard from a case worker. He said he was told someone accessed his account and stole his benefit checks — and the agency is working to get permission to cut him an emergency check for the money he’s owed.

A spokesperson for DFAS declined to comment on the specifics of this case because of the Privacy Act.

We’re still working to learn the scope of this potential breach. A spokesperson for DFAS says scammers will gain access to veterans’ accounts periodically and urged them to protect their passwords.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter