My father Hoyt Mills of Brownwood, died Aug. 13 of this year and because he was retired military (U.S. Air Force 21 years) we were advised by the funeral home that he may be eligible for death benefits of $1,500 and a headstone marker. My father served our great country fighting in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, even losing his identical twin brother Doyle Mills in the Korean conflict, therefore paying the ultimate price.

Today I received a generic letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs denying the death benefit claim. I called the number provided to speak to a representative in order to get clarification as to why the claim was denied and after holding for approximately 45 minutes, the representative that I spoke with was not only rude, but as vague as the letter itself and the only thing I was clear on from her response was, if my father had died in a VA facility then he would have been eligible for the benefit. So because my father decided he wanted to come home to die in peace and with dignity then we as a family are penalized.

This type of bureaucracy is absolutely unacceptable for families of veterans who have sacrificed and given of themselves. As a family we are not asking for anything that is not due our Veteran father or for special privilege. The conversation I had with the VA representative made me wonder if other veteran families are going through these same types of issues. Did our government not learn anything from the Walter Reed debacle?

Thank you.

Children of Hoyt Mills

Doyle Mills and Vanessa Bishop