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Veteran families losing benefits take their fight to Washington

This week, the House Committee on Veteran Affairs began taking a hard look at why thousands of veteran families have lost their benefits.

Congressional leaders are trying to figure out why thousands of veteran caregivers were stripped of their benefits.

KFOX14 Investigates has followed this story for weeks.

This week, the House Committee on Veteran Affairs began taking a hard look at why thousands of veteran families have lost their benefits.

Lauren Price, the founder of Veteran Warriors, a veteran advocacy group, said the two-hour discussion she had with the committee Thursday was a productive start. Her meetings in Washington continued Friday morning.

She said congressional leaders were surprised by some of the cases and data Veteran Warriors has collected and the evidence they presented.

“We were able to talk in depth about some of the more egregious cases we've come across and they were shocked that some of these things are happening. It put the VA in the perspective of, this isn’t just an isolated cases here or there,” Price said.

El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke was also at the meeting. During Thursday’s round table, he tweeted that the VA only planned for 4,000 families to use the caregiver program and so far, 35,000 have utilized it at some point.

O’Rourke also tweeted out, “No excuses about funding care for Veterans.”

The program provides a stipend for family members of wounded veterans who serve as the vets' full time caregivers and therefore cannot work outside of the home.

Veteran Warriors has found 26,000 families were dropped from the program in the past two years and thousands of others had their benefits cut in half.

Price said she has personally reviewed 400 cases families have sent to her which show a disturbing pattern of families suddenly being dropped.

"They were following all of the rules, they met all of the requirements," she said.

Price said at the meeting, VA officials acknowledged problems with training and consistency across all VA offices.

“They agreed this needs to be look at and it’s a topic of discussion,” Price said, adding that the meeting was just the starting point.

“It’s validating the fact that, what we are doing is the right thing. That we are trying to make sure that every single veteran and their family members are getting the benefits they have earned,” Price said.

Price was also invited to meet with the Secretary of the VA's office Friday morning.

She’s pushing for the VA to re-examine all of the cases of families she said were wrongfully dropped from the program.

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