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Former VA employee seeks help from 8 On Your Side after retirement checks stalled

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Melissa Rowlett felt the federal government turned its back on her when she applied for medical retirement from the VA, 16 months ago.

Not one retirement check came her way that entire time.

So she contacted 8 On Your Side.

“I’m very grateful for everything you all have done because it got some wheels turning,” Rowlett explained.

Rowlett discovered Monday morning that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) deposited into her bank account, retirement checks dating back to April.

“I was ecstatic because I couldn’t believe it had gotten done that quick after it had been so many calls and so many messages and things like that,” Rowlett said.

She applied for retirement in April 2018.

That’s when blood clots put her in the hospital.

The embolisms cut off circulation in her leg, forcing amputation.

With no income, she lost her home, lost her car, moved in with her parents

“Basically I’ve had to rely on them for everything,” Melissa added as her voice quivered with emotion.

When the Office of Personnel Management told her it wouldn’t take up her case until at least September, she contacted 8 On Your Side

I reached out to OPM.

“Couple of days later I got a call from Washington saying that they’re they’re working on it,” she added.

I contacted OPM again last Thursday.

Our report about Melissa aired on Friday.

This week Rowlett got some long-overdue relief, 3 months in back pay.

Melissa was approved for retirement in April of this year, the check she received covered that period to August.

She applied for her medical retirement in April 2018. The Office of Personnel Management told her it is adjudicating her claim, to determine what amount of retroactive pay she might be entitled to.

She hopes it doesn’t take OPM 16 months to make that decision.

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

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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