Metro family battles with VA for months to get money for veteran mother’s funeral

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – A family in Overland Park has been waiting months to receive money the Department of Veterans Affairs promised them after the death of their mother.

David Plyer said getting answers from the VA has been a nightmare since his mother died in January.

“I have been fighting with them every week,” he said. “I call them up, and it’s the same old thing. I get the runaround. I get the same song and dance.”

His mom, Pryde Ella Plyer, was a transcriber for the United States Navy during the Korean War. When she lost her battle with cancer at the age of 84, David contacted the VA and trusted the agency would take care of her funeral expenses, which cost $1,200.

“What they told me is that they take care of the active veterans first, which is understandable, you know, but don’t forget about the people who had served already and who’s depending on this,” he said.

David and his wife filled out the necessary paperwork for a possible reimbursement. In July, the VA sent them a letter saying it would cover only $300. The Plyers, who live on a fixed income, cut their losses and were OK with the fraction of the payment.

“That $1,200 hurt, but we got through it,” he said. “[Still, the $300] would go a long way in helping us.”

The problem is they never got the money.

“So I give them a call. ‘Where is the money?’” David recalled the phone conversation going. “‘Oh, we gave it to you already.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yeah, we sent it to some guy out in San Francisco.’ ‘Well, that’s news. I live in Kansas!’”

Apparently, the VA confused David, whose middle name is Allan, with a David Lee Plyer, who lived in California. He said the agency gave him the runaround every time he called to try and clear up the confusion.

“I just want what’s due to us. I just want the $300,” he said. “I just want this resolved. I mean, it’s driving me crazy.”

After the Plyers reached out to the FOX4 Problem Solvers, we contacted the VA on Tuesday. A spokesperson sent the following statement: “Any time a veteran or family member has a concern, we reach out to them directly, just as we are doing with the family member in this case.”

“You don’t want me to say what I want to say,” David said after hearing the VA's statement.

David said the only time he heard from the VA is when he reached out.

His wife, Bridget, said her mother-in-law would be upset to know how the VA is handling her case.

“My mother-in-law went to her death believing the VA was going to do the right thing,” she said emotionally. “They’ve given their bodies and souls to this country, and they should be treated with respect and honor.”

“How many other people are they doing this to?” her husband added. “How many other people are they screwing over? I mean, if this is how the government treats their vets, I think it’s a shame. It really is.”

Following the interview with the Plyer family on Tuesday, FOX4 contacted the VA again to express the Plyers’ angst, and shared their reaction to the initial statement, which gave them no assurance the problem would be resolved.

On Wednesday, David called us and said, “You won’t believe this, but I just got a call from the VA, and they told me they’re putting out check in the mail. You did it.”

Problem solved.

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