AURORA, Colo. — An Army veteran in Aurora said the Department of Veterans Affairs is wrongly garnishing his retirement pay.
Elmo Jones, a retired Green Beret, served our country for more than two decades. But he’s going up against a behemoth bureaucracy to stop child support payments for a boy who is not his.
The VA is taking a big chunk of his retirement pay each month to pay support for the now-5-year-old boy.
It’s something a Colorado court already ruled the ex-wife is not entitled to receive.
“This is America? Really?” Jones said.
The 57-year-old served in the U.S. Army for 21 years, including combat in the Persian Gulf War. But he’s finding the toughest mission of his life is on home soil.
“It comes back the child is not mine. So it’s pretty hard,” a tearful Jones said.
A pending divorce led him to get a DNA test for the boy he thought was his son. The results led an Arapahoe County court to deny his ex-wife, Ashia Abdul-Amin, child support.
But she didn’t give up there.
“I get a letter from them about some child not living with me. And they are going to start taking $1,300 out of my pay,” Jones said.
He immediately called the VA, but without any results.
“I called them at least 15 times,” he said. “They won’t talk to me.”
He faxed the DNA test results and the divorce decree showing they have no children together. But last month, the VA took his money.
“It seems like it’s not good enough. What else do I have to do?” he asked.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers called the VA and emailed its public affairs several times to get some answers. There has been no response.
“It’s my money. I didn’t steal it, or gamble it or win it in a lottery. It’s what I survive on,” he said.
Right now, that survival is in a tiny extended-stay hotel room in Aurora. He said this is not the way to treat a veteran who dedicated 21 years of his life to the country.
“What is in question here is if the child belongs to me or not. And that’s already been determined by a court of law. The child is not mine,” he said.
The VA has told Jones it will reimburse him if its investigation shows he’s not the father. In the meantime, he has considerably less money to live on each month.
“I feel betrayed because those people are supposed to be on my side,” he said.