The first letter addressed to the late David Perry arrived five weeks after he died at home June 5.
Sent from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the envelope was to be opened “by addressee only.” Perry’s wife Helena opened it anyway.
“You remain eligible to receive (VA) health benefits,” it read. A handwritten yellow sticky note added, “Please provide copy of death certificate.”
Helena thought she’d notified VA. Regardless, she said, “It’s kind of hard for him to open it when he’s not here – and even harder for him to send the death certificate.”
Several days later, a VA billing statement addressed to David Perry arrived. Helena opened that one too. Her late husband, it seemed, owes the government 59 cents.
“So if it’s not paid by October the 11th, I’m going to have additional – or he will have additional charges on his 59 cents,” she said. “So I did call and talk to them, and informed them again that he was dead, and I just didn’t think he would be able to pay it.”
She pointed to the envelope and its pre-printed postage. “And how ridiculous to pay 48 cents to send it?”
On Sept. 4, VA sent David Perry another reminder: to get a flu shot.