By Sara Jerving
Every month since June 2009, Tad Steckler has received a disability benefits check from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Steckler retired from the Army at age 40 as a master sergeant with a Soldier’s Medal for heroism, and he’d built a new life on the foundation of his checks.
The money covered rent on a three-bedroom home in Nebraska that he shared with his wife and her two daughters and the lease on the family’s Nissan Leaf electric car. It was all part of the agreement he’d made with the government when he enlisted out of high school: In exchange for his service, he’d be taken care of.
Last June, Steckler’s wife, Robyn Loveland, opened what she thought was just another envelope from the VA. Except this one wasn’t a check — it was a bill for more than $10,000.
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