16-month delay in retirement checks leaves former VA worker penniless

8 On Your Side

She got off welfare 23 years ago and is headed in that direction again

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s been a rough 16 months for Melissa Rowlett.

Blood clots forced the amputation of her leg.

Severe medical problems forced Melissa Rowlett to retire.

“My heart was throwing out blood clots,” Melissa explained.

The clots also killed a portion of her intestines, doctors removed 2 and a half feet.

“I was in the hospital over 4 months,” Melissa added.

Melissa worked for the VA for 23 years.

Medical issues forced her to apply for a disability retirement.

While Melissa was still hospitalized her mother Jo Ann Buley got the retirement paperwork going, 16 months ago.

“We did everything that was required and then it was a waiting game,” Buley stated.

The Office of Personnel Management in Washington notified Melissa in April, her disability retirement was approved, one year after application.

Meanwhile, with no checks for 16 months, Melissa has lost her home and her car.

“I called them last week and they told me that they’re not even going to look at it again until September,” Melissa said.

So she contacted 8 On Your Side.

I contacted Congressman Gus Bilirakis. His office made an inquiry.

On Tuesday, I also contacted the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

It responded on Wednesday with an email that stated, “Our retirement services team is aware of this case and is actively working to resolve it.”

Thursday Melissa got a call from OPM stating her checks would be deposited into her bank account within 3 to 5 days.

Melissa Rowlett has waited 16 months for her retirement checks to arrive.

This delay has not only wiped out Melissa financially, it has pretty much cleaned out her parents too.

If you know of something that you think should be investigated call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1 800 338-0808.

Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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