Veterans Mistakenly Moved to Unauthorized Homes

When Air Force veteran Thomas Whitmore first came to the Seacrest Retirement Center in West Haven about eight months ago, he was having thoughts of suicide every day.

“I came here in very bad condition, and they have provided me with an environment where I can recover,” said Whitmore.

Through therapy and care at Seacrest, Whitmore doesn't have suicidal thoughts anymore.

“This has been wonderful for me,” he said.

But Whitmore, like 22 other veterans in Connecticut, is in jeopardy of losing his home. The VA sent out a letter last week that said it had mistakenly been placing veterans in rest home care facilities that aren't authorized under the options available to veterans who need full-time nursing care.

"VA deeply regrets that we are unable to continue to cover the costs for veterans to reside in rest home level of care facilities. VA Connecticut Healthcare System social workers will work closely with each veteran, family and conservator impacted by this change to ensure these patients have an appropriate residential placement,” said Pamela Redmond in a statement for the VA Connecticut Healthcare System.

The funding for their current residences will end Dec. 31.

“It looks like a step down, and I'm not interested in being in an environment again that messes with depression,” said Whitmore.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy wrote a letter to the head of the VA urging him to stop what they call "force removals" of veterans who served and sacrificed.

“Removing them forcibly is unacceptable until we assess where they're going to go and whether services can be provided where they are right now,” said Blumenthal.

Thomas Whitmore said he hopes their message is heard.

“A lot of people going to bat for us that appreciate what we did,” he said.

The VA said the veterans will not be responsible for reimbursing the government for any costs incurred by the error.

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