VA retirees waiting on Saturday pay settlement checks

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A retired VA employee and veteran reached out to CBS4 Problem Solvers about a settlement check he has yet to receive.

Rip Forte, a Vietnam veteran, retired from his job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, this past May.

In August, Forte received a letter saying he was entitled to back pay for Saturdays, totaling more than $5,000. The money was part of a settlement between the VA and a national union.

"I just thought maybe they'd just pay us and let it go," Forte said.

Instead, Forte and his wife, Mary, told CBS4 Problem Solvers that they are waiting on a check they initially thought would come in October.

In the initial letter Forte received, VA officials said they would pay current employees in August and September, and "separated employees can expect payments beginning October 20, 2017."

Instead, the couple got a second letter in September, saying they needed to send in an address verification. When their check did not arrive in October or the first half of November, they contacted CBS4 Problem Solvers.

"When we started inquiring about it, that’s when they told us, 'No, that’s not what we meant,' and then they’d give us another date," Mary Forte said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers reached out to the VA's Office of Media Relations. A spokesperson said in an email, "The letter you reference contained inaccurate information" and that "VA anticipates that payments to former employees will begin arriving around the middle of December."

The spokesperson said the initial letter sent to Forte was "unauthorized" and "should not have been sent out."

Forte said, after months of waiting, he doesn't have much faith.

"I think it's coming around in January or February," Forte said.

The couple said they'll keep waiting, but their patience has worn thin, and they don't understand why current employees have been paid while retirees remain on hold.

"Get these people paid, like they got the rest of the people paid. Just pay us, pay us the money that’s due us," Mary Forte said.