Prudential, USA Stiff Families of Suicidal Veterans, Kin Claim
NEWARK (CN) - Prudential Insurance and the Department of Veterans Affairs refuse to pay life insurance benefits to families of military veterans who commit suicide due to post-traumatic stress disorder, four families claim in Federal Court.
Lead plaintiff Mathew Ecker's son Michael served in Iraq in 2005-06 and received "at least eleven medals, ribbons, and badges of honor for his service," his father says in the complaint. "After Michael's return from Iraq his parents observed a dramatic change in his personality. He was in constant physical pain, suffered memory losses, and was anxious all the time. Michael never left the war behind and after medical treatment efforts failed him, on August 28, 2009, he walked to the garden, saluted his father in military fashion, placed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Mathew was the sold beneficiary of the SGLI policy of his son, in the amount of $400,000.
"Mathew has testified under oath that, while alive, Michael never received from Prudential any notice that he could convert his SGLI policy to a VGLI policy."
The grieving families claim that Prudential denied benefits by claiming that late veterans did not switch their SGLI polices over to VGLI within 120 days of separation from the military.
Citing The New York Times, the complaint states that "more than 4,000 former service members have died after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of those returning veterans have died from self-inflicted wounds."