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2018 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts

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2018 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts – Over 100 Free Meals!

Happy Veterans Day! Veterans Day is celebrated this year on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. The Federal Holiday will be on Monday, Nov. 12th.

Many restaurants and companies thank our veterans each year by offering them discounts or a free meal.

To those companies offering veterans a free meal or discount, the military community gives a collective thanks!

Below you’ll find a continuously updating list of this year’s restaurant offers for veterans. Last year over 100 restaurants participated. Most restaurants announce offers at the end of October, up through Veterans Day. Stay tuned as we are frequently updating this page as offers become available, and check in with your locations for dates, participation, and availability.

FREE MEALS BEFORE VETERANS DAY

Huddle House, Nov. 9 – 12, 2018.

  • FREE order of Sweet Cakes (Huddle House’s fluffy, platter-size pancakes available in eight different flavor and topping combinations) to all active military members and veterans with proper I.D. on Veterans Day at all Huddle House locations nationwide. Locations.

Luna Grill, Nov. 10 – 12, 2018.

  • Buy One, Get One Free with purchase. Military service men and women and first responders will receive their choice of a complimentary signature wrap, plate or gourmet salad when they purchase a meal at Luna Grill. 10% daily discount for military and first responders. Locations.

Pilot Flying J, Nov. 10 – 12, 2018.

  • Free breakfast, including a free Pilot Coffee of any size with a choice of a PJ Fresh breakfast sandwich, packaged pastry item, or a Cinnabon Center of the Roll. Download (or open) the myPilot app Nov. 10-12 to find a coupon in myOffers. First-time users receive an additional free drink of their choice when downloading the app. Locations.

Rock Bottom Brewery, Nov. 10 – 12, 2018.

  • Free entree for all active duty military and veterans with military ID or in uniform. Other restrictions may apply, see your local Rock Bottom for details.

Shane’s Rib Shack, Nov. 8 – 10, 2018.

Spaghetti Warehouse, Nov. 9 – 11, 2018.

  • Buy one entrée, get one free. Coupon Required. Choose any of 11 Original Recipe Spaghetti entrées and receive a second entrée free. Friends and relatives are encouraged to treat a veteran to a meal. More info.

Tucanos Brazilian Grill, Nov. 9th, 10th, 12th, 2018.

  • Free Churrasco Meal with purchase of another Churrasco meal. (1/2 price meal available for veterans dining solo). More info.

FREE MEALS ON VETERANS DAY

The following offers are all on Veterans Day, Nov 11, 2018.

54th Street Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Free entree, up to $12, for Veterans and Active Duty Military. Proof of service required, Dine-in Only. More info.

A

Acapulco, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary meal. More info.

Applebee’s, Nov. 11, 2018: One of 8 entrées to choose from for a free meal. Military ID or proof of service required. You can read all about the offer in our post here, and get more information and check out all of Applebee’s locations on their website.

B

Back Yard Burgers, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Classic Burger for veterans and active duty military members. Bring proof of military service. Locations.

Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Great American Cheeseburger + Fries for military, veterans, and first responders. Dine-in Only. More info.

Baker’s Square, Nov. 11, 2018. Free breakfast choice of Buttermilk Pancakes, three pieces of French Toast, or a Belgian Waffle for veterans and active duty military members. Bring proof of military service. More info.

Bar Louie, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Flatbread or Burger, up to $15, with ID. You can check out Bar Loui’s website to see all of their locations and details on their Veterans Day promotion.

BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, Nov. 11, 2018. Free entree, up to $12.95 value, plus a free Dr. Pepper beverage. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans, with proof of service. Dine-in only. Additional offer: Free Pizookie® for current or retired military from Nov. 1 – Nov. 30, 2018, while supplies last.  Locations.

Bob Evans, Nov. 11, 2018. Free select breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. For active duty military, retirees, and veterans with ID or proof of service. More Info.

Boston Market, Nov. 11 – Nov 12, 2018. Buy one individual meal with a drink and get a second free at all U.S. locations; coupon (but no I.D.) is required and available at BostonMarket.com. Available for all veterans, service members, and their families. No ID required.

Buffalo Wild Wings, Nov. 11, 2018. Free order of traditional or boneless wings and a side of fries to veterans and current military members. Dine-in only. Bring proof of military service. More info.

C

California Pizza Kitchen, Nov. 11, 2018. Choose a pizza, full-size salad, or pasta from the special Veterans Day Menu. Dine-in only. Please come in uniform or bring your military I.D. or other proof of service. More info.

Cattlemens Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2018. Free 8 oz Sirloin Steak Dinner on Veterans Day. Call your local Cattlemen’s for details and to verify participation. Proof of service required. More info.

CentraArchy Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal for veterans at select locations of New York Prime, California Dreaming, The Tavern at Phipps, Chophouse New Orleans, Carolina Roadhouse, Joey D’s Oak Room, Chophouse ’47 or Gulfstream Café. Find all the details at CentraArchy Restaurant’s website.

Chevys Fresh Mex, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary meal. More info.

Chili’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal from a select menu. Dine-in only and participating locations only. Proof of military service required. More info.

Chipotle, Nov. 11, 2018. Buy-one/get-one free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos. Offer valid for all U.S. military (active-duty, Guard/Reserve, and retired military), military spouses with ID, and veterans. For in-restaurant orders only; offer not valid for online, mobile, fax, or catering orders. More info.

The Chop House, Nov. 11th, and Nov. 12th, 2018. 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree to veterans with military ID or in uniform. Locations.

City Barbeque, Nov. 11, 2018. Free sandwich platter at participating locations. Proof of service required. More info.

Connors Steak & Seafood, Nov. 11th, and Nov. 12th, 2018. 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree to veterans with military ID or in uniform. Locations.

Cotton Patch Café, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal for current and former military members. Choices include full-size chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken. Proof of service required. You can learn more on Cotton Patch Cafe’s site, as well as seeing where your nearest location is.

Cracker Barrel, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola® Cake for dessert or a Crafted Coffee. More info.

D

Dunkin’ Donuts, Nov. 11, 2018. Free donut to Veterans and active duty military at participating restaurants nationwide. More infoLocations.

E

East Coast Wings + Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal from special menu (participating locations only). Proof of service required. More InfoLocations.

El Torito & El Torito, Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary meal. More info.

F

Famous Dave’s, Nov. 11, 2018, and Nov. 12, 2018. Free 2 Meat Combo served with choice of side and cornbread muffin – for veterans and current military members. Bring proof of service. Participating locations only. More info.

Friendly’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner to guests with a valid military ID or honorable discharge card. Meal options include the Big-Two-Do® breakfast (choice of two slices of French toast, two buttermilk pancakes or two slices of toast; two strips of crispy bacon or two sausage links and two made-to-order farm fresh eggs), or All American Burger (fries and a beverage) during lunch or dinner. Dine-in only. This offer is limited to one per person at participating locations only.

G

Glory Days, Nov. 11 – 12, 2018. Free appetizer or an order of boneless or grilled boneless wings. Dine-in only and at only at participating locations. More infoLocations.

Gold Star Chili, Nov. 11, 2018. Free 3-Way & Drink for veterans and active duty. More infoLocations.

Green Mill, Nov. 11, 2018. Free menu item for lunch or dinner. Offer includes any single item from our menu. Some limitations. Proof of military service required. Dine-in Only. More info.

Grub Burger Bar, Nov. 11, 2018. Free entree for active, inactive, and retired military personnel. Proof of military service is required. Find your nearest location here.

H

Hamburger Stand, Nov. 11, 2018. Free hamburger, regular fries and a small Pepsi. More info.

Hickory Tavern, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Tavern Burger with Purchase of a Beverage for all current and former military with ID. More info.

Hooters, Nov. 11, 2018. Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal from a select menu. Requires drink purchase. Only valid at participating locations. Locations.

Houlihan’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal for active military and veterans with ID at participating locations only. Locations.

J

Joe’s Crab Shack, Nov. 11, 2018. 20% Off on Veterans Day. More info.

L

Little Caesars® Pizza, Nov. 11, 2018. Free pizza or $5 HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo to all US Armed Forces veterans and active military members between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. With proof of military service, at participating stores nationwide. Call ahead to verify participation. More info.

Logan’s Roadhouse, Nov. 11, 2018 (3 pm – 6 pm). Free entrée from the American Roadhouse Meals menu for veterans and active duty military personnel. 10% discount year-round. Call your local Logan’s Roadhouse for details and to verify participation. More info.

LongHorn Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2018. Free appetizer or dessert (no purchase required, no restrictions). Additional 10% off for guests that dine with Veterans on November 11. Offer good for Veterans and active-duty military members. Proof of service required. Find a location near you here.

M

Main Event, Nov. 11, 2018. Free entrée from a select menu and a complimentary FUNcard good for $10 in arcade play. More info.

Max & Erma’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering military members and veterans a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo, which includes seasoned fries and a fountain drink. Dine-in only. Call ahead to verify participation. ID or proof of service required. Locations.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2018. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée from a special menu. Veterans must provide proof of military service. No ID needed for Gold Star Family members (parents or spouse). Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. Be sure to review our rundown of this offer, and if you still need more information visit McCormick and Schmick’s Veterans Appreciation Event.

McGrath Fish House, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal from special menu. More info.

Menchie’s, Nov. 11, 2018. All veterans and current servicemembers will receive their first 6 oz. frozen yogurt free on Veterans Day. Locations.

N

Native Grill & Wings, Nov. 11, 2018. One free menu item, up to $11.99. More info.

Nékter Juice Bar, Nov. 11, 2018. Free 16 oz Juices and Smoothies to Veterans and Active Duty Military all day long at participating locations. Find a Nékter Juice Bar near you and get their contact info to learn more about their free smoothie offer.

Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, Nov. 11, 2018. From 11am – 4pm. Veterans and active military, free entrée from the 9 Real Size Entrées for $9.99 Menu. More Info.

NYC Bagel Sandwich Shop, Nov. 11, 2018 (6 am – 4 pm). FREE Bagel and Coffee. More info.

O

O’Charley’s, Nov. 11 – 12, 2018. Free $9.99er for veterans and active duty service members on November 11th & 12th at participating locations only. More infoLocations.

Olive Garden, Nov. 11, 2018. Free entrée from a special menu. Entrées are served with unlimited soup or house salad and garlic breadsticks. Offer good for veterans and active duty military; proof of service required. Read our guide to Olive Garden’s Veterans Day special and take a look at their locations.

On The Border, Nov. 11, 2018. Veterans and current servicemembers will receive a free Choose-2 Combo Meal. Each combo is accompanied with sides of Mexican rice and refried beans (black beans upon request), plus endless complimentary tortilla chips and housemade salsa. Dine-in only, proof of service required. More info.

Outback Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage. This offer is available to Military Personnel and veterans with ID. Also available 10% OFF Heroes Discount is open to servicemen and women, police officers, firefighters, and first responders, with corresponding state or federal service ID  through Dec 31, 2018. You can learn more in our post on Outback’s military discount and find an Outback near you with the restaurant’s locator tool, as well as checking out their Operation Homefront initiative.

P

Perry’s Steakhouses, Nov. 11, 2018 (4 pm – 9 pm). Complimentary 3-Course Pork Chop Dinner. Reservations and U.S. Military I.D. required. Each active or former military patron must be accompanied by at least one paying guest (purchasing dinner entrée or Sunday Supper Special). More info.

Primanti Bros, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Sandwich for veterans and active duty military at participating locations. More info.

R

Recovery Sports Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary meal and one Non-Alcoholic Beverage, from Select Menu. Valid for all Active Military and Veterans, dine-in only. More info.

Red Lobster, Nov. 11 – Nov. 12, 2018. Free Appetizer or Dessert with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers and desserts. More info.

Red Robin, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries for all Red Robin guests with a military ID or proof of service. More info.

Rib Crib, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal from Menu of Honor, which includes choice of two meats and two sides, and your choice of a non-alcoholic beverage. More info.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs & Spaghetti entrée for current and former military. More info.

Ruby Tuesday’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Free appetizer (up to $10) at participating locations, proof of service required. More infoLocations.

S

Sagebrush Steakhouse, Nov. 11, 2018, 10 am – 11 pm. Free meal from select menu for veterans and current military members. Includes non-alcoholic beverage. Bring proof of military service. More infoLocations.

Sheetz, Nov. 11, 2018. Free lunch at participating locations. Free car wash also available at participating locations, Proof of service required. More infoLocations.

Sizzler Restaurants, Nov. 11, 2018. Free lunch served until 4 pm at participating locations. Veterans can choose between our 6oz Steak, Malibu Chicken or Jumbo Crispy Shrimp. Not valid for salad bar or gratuity. Valid with proof of military service. Dine-in only at participating locations. Locations.

Starbucks, Nov. 11, 2018. Starbucks is treating veterans, active duty service members, and spouses to a free tall (12oz) hot brewed coffee. More info.

T

Tap House Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary meal on Veterans Day, November 11th. For servicemembers and veterans with proof of service. Dine-in only. More infoLocations.

Texas Corral, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal from a special menu, plus lemonade, iced tea, or coffee for veterans and current military personnel. Bring proof of military service. More info.

Texas de Brazil, Nov 11-12, 2018. Complimentary meal for two veterans, plus up to 20% off for up to six additional guests during dinner service. *Restrictions apply. More info.

Texas Roadhouse, Nov. 11, 2018. Free Lunch from special menu. Includes sides and a soft drink, coffee, or tea. Proof of service required. Dine-in only. You can access more info and find locations on Texas Roadhouse’s website.

T.G.I. Friday’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Free menu item up to $12 for all current military members and veterans. Valid ID or proof of service required. Dine-in only at participating locations. Be sure to contact your local T.G.I Friday’s for details. More infoLocations.

TooJay’s, Nov. 11, 2018. Free entrée from a special menu on Veteran’s Day. More info.

V

Vitality Bowls, Nov. 11, 2018. Free smoothies for current and former military members at all corporate-owned locations and participating franchises. More info.

W

White Castle, Nov. 11-12, 2018. Free Breakfast Combo or Castle Combo meal #1-6 for veterans and active duty military. Bring proof of military service. More info.

Wienerschnitzel, Nov. 11, 2018. A complimentary Chili Dog, small fries and 20 oz. drink at participating Wienerschnitzel locations, with valid military ID or by wearing a military uniform. Locations.

Wild Wing Café, Nov. 11, 2018. A complimentary meal with proof of service. Veteran may choose from any Awesome Salad, Wild Wrap, Beefy Burger, or Chicken Sandwich. Participating locations only. More info.

WingHouse Bar & Grill, Nov. 11, 2018. Free meal from select menu, at participating locations. More info.

Y

Yard House, Nov. 11, 2018. Complimentary appetizer. More info.

FREE MEALS AFTER VETERANS DAY

Free Veterans Day Meals – Nov. 12, 2018

Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar, Nov. 12, 2018. Current and former military members will receive a free meal from a special menu. Dine-in only. More infoLocations.

Aspen Creek Grill, Nov. 12, 2018. Complimentary Entrée from a special menu. Offer good from 11am – close. More info.

Black Angus Steakhouse, Nov. 12, 2018.  Day All-American Steak Plate for just $9.99. Includes an 8 oz. Certified Angus Beef® Top Sirloin, mashed potatoes, broccoli with garlic butter and a non- alcoholic beverage. Must show proof of military service or military ID to receive offer. More info.

Bombshells Restaurant & Bar, Nov. 12, 2018. Free meals and soft drink, with a 20% discount on meals and soft drinks for accompanying family members. More info.

Burntwood Tavern, Nov. 12, 2018. Free lunch or dinner for all active duty military and veterans. Proof of service or ID required. Available at all locations. More infoLocations.

Calhoun’s Restaurant, Nov. 12, 2018. Free meal, choice of Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Half Slab of Ribs, Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Pork Plate, “Ale” Steak, Fresh Chicken Calhoun, and Southern Fried Catfish. Proof of Service required. More infoLocations.

Chicken Salad Chick, Nov. 12, 2018. Free Chick Meal and drink. Includes 1 Scoop or Sandwich, plus one scoop, side, or cup of soup. Locations.

Claim Jumper, Nov. 12, 2018. Free entrée from select menu, with official proof of service. Dine-in only. Participating locations only. Locations.

Denny’s, Nov. 12, 2018. Free Build Your Own Grand Slam® on Nov. 12, from 5 a.m. to noon for all active, inactive, and retired military personnel. Participating locations only. Please call ahead. Locations.

Farmer Boys, Nov. 12, 2018. Free Big Cheese cheeseburgers to veterans and active duty military with valid proof of service. Locations.

Fatz Café, Nov. 12, 2018. Free World Famous Calabash Chicken® meal for current and former military members, 11 am until 11 pm. Proof of service required. Locations.

Firebird’s Grill, Nov. 12, 2018. “Dine with a Veteran or Active Duty Service Member on Monday, November 12 and their lunch or dinner is our treat! Please bring a valid form of military ID or wear your uniform to receive a complimentary entree.”. More info.

GiGi’s Cupcakes, Nov. 12, 2018. FREE cupcake to all veterans and first responders on Monday, November 12th at all participating locations. Store locations.

Golden Corral, Nov. 12, 2018 (5pm – 9pm): The 18th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation dinner, which you can learn all about in our post here.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House, Nov. 12, 2018. Free Soup, Salad, and Desert Bar. Beverage Included. Available for all veterans and active duty military. Dine-in only, valid ID or proof of service required. Valid at participating restaurants only, 11am – 9pm. Hoss’s website provides you with more info and locations.

Hy-Vee, Free Breakfast, Nov. 12, 2018. Free Veterans Day breakfast from 6am – 11am at all participating Hy-Vee supermarkets with in-store dining. You can get all the details here.

IHOP, Nov. 12, 2018. Free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 am – 7 pm. Participating locations only. Please call ahead to verify participation. More infoLocations.

Jon Smith Subs, Nov. 12, 2018. Free 6-inch Steak Bomb sub for current and former military with ID. More info.

K&W Cafeteria, Nov. 12, 2018. Free meal, including entrée, 2 vegetables, Bread, and Beverage. More info.

Kings Family Restaurants, Nov. 12, 2018. Free meal for current and former military members, from a select menu. More info.

M Italian Restaurant, Nov. 12, 2018. Free lunch or dinner for all active duty military and veterans. Proof of service or ID required. Available at all locations. More infoLocations.

Rock & Brews, Nov. 12, 2018. Complimentary pulled pork sandwich and a side dish or Strawberry Fields Salad. Available for Veterans, Armed Forces, and First Responders. Proof of military service required. Participating locations; Dine-in Only. More info is available on their website.

Rose Italian Kitchen, Nov. 12, 2018. Free lunch or dinner for all active duty military and veterans. Proof of service or ID required. Available at all locations. More infoLocations.

Shoney’s, Nov. 12, 2018. Free All You Care To Eat, freshly-prepared Breakfast Bar for veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dine-in only, from 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Proof of Service required. More infoLocations.

Taco Mac, Nov. 12, 2018. Free 6-Pack of Wings w/ beverage purchase for Veterans and Active Military. More info.

Twin Peaks, Nov. 12, 2018. Military Monday. Free menu item from a select menu at participating locations. Please call ahead to verify participation. More infoLocations.

Free Veterans Day Meals – Nov. 12, 2018

Country Cookin, Nov. 13, 2018 (2pm – 8pm). Free meal for current and former military. Proof of service required. Please note the date – this is valid the Tuesday after Veterans Day! More infoLocations.

VETERANS DAY DISCOUNTS – RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Proof of Military Service

Most companies require some form of military ID or proof of military service. These include:

Participation

Second, always call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation. Many of the listed companies are franchises and may have different policies.

We will do our best to keep this page updated as we find new info, but the only way to guarantee you get your Veterans Day meal is by calling ahead and checking with your location.

Tipping

This one may be a no-brainer, but you should tip your server thoughtfully regardless of whether you ate a free meal or not.

In other words, please tip your wait-staff on the full meal price. Show your appreciation for their service. It’s the right thing to do!

 

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News & Entertainment

VA may owe veterans millions in refunds on home loans fees

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More than 50,000 disabled veterans could be owed as much as $190 million in refunds from the Department of Veterans Affairs for home loan fees they were wrongly charged or no longer owe, an investigation has found.

Senior leaders knew about the problem for years but didn’t ensure veterans received what they are due, the investigation by the VA inspector general found. 

Veterans pay the fees when they buy homes with the help of VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program, but they are supposed to be exempt if they are disabled. Fees can total up to 3.3% of a home’s value. 

But the VA didn’t do that in thousands of cases dating back more than a decade because the veterans didn’t ask for the refunds.

VA loan managers, who knew about outstanding debts to veterans since at least 2014, told investigators that they had been focused on other priorities, including processing high volumes of applications.

Investigators from the inspector general’s office said in their report released Thursday that they found it “troubling” that the managers were “aware that thousands of veterans were potentially owed more than $150 million yet did not take adequate actions to ensure refunds were issued.”

“It is the review team’s opinion that requiring a veteran to submit a claim for a refund improperly places the burden and responsibility solely upon the veteran,” investigators said.

The VA issued a press release last month – as the inspector general was preparing to release the investigation results – announcing that the agency is now notifying veterans when they buy homes under the program that they are exempt from the fees if they are disabled or later determined to be disabled.

“Through an internal quality improvement effort, VA has put a plan in place to better inform veterans through key communications when the law allows VA to waive the fee for a veteran,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the release.

The release did not say what is being done to ensure veterans due refunds from loans in prior years are paid. The inspector general found the amounts owed in its review ranged from $5,000 to $20,000.

The VA said veterans who believe they are owed a refund should consult the agency’s website for more information about VA home loan funding fees.

Between 2012 and 2017, the VA collected roughly $10 billion in fees from veterans under the loan program.

The inspector general estimated disabled veterans who were wrongly charged accounted for $286 million of those fees. But the VA only refunded about $100 million, leaving an estimated $190 million that may still be due to 53,200 veterans.   

The Loan Guaranty program was established in 1944 to help veterans finance home purchases. Loans are provided by private lenders, but the VA guarantees a portion of the loans for eligible buyers. The lenders collect the fees and transmit them to the VA.

If a veteran wrongly paid the fees, the VA can refund the money directly to the veteran. If the fees were included as part of a loan, the VA pays the lender, which applies it to the loan balance.

In 2014, regional VA loan officials in St. Paul, Minnesota, notified senior VA managers that an analysis found nearly $150 million may be due in refunds to disabled veterans for fees on 48,000 loans issued between 2006 and 2014.

“As of January 2019, the review team received no indication that a large-scale effort had been initiated to issue refunds to these veterans,” the inspector general said.   

The director of the Loan Guaranty program since 2017, Jeffrey London, told investigators he “considered contracting out the task of issuing refunds, but never requested the award of a contract because other priorities…took precedence,” the investigators wrote.

The inspector general recommended the agency identify and pay all the veterans owed refunds. In addition, the VA should implement procedures to minimize the number of veterans who are wrongly charged fees and conduct periodic reviews to ensure those who are receive prompt refunds.

The VA told investigators some of the fees were incorrectly assessed by lenders, not the VA. But agency officials said in their response to the report that they “generally agreed” with the investigation’s findings and are consulting lawyers about complexities related to issuing refunds.

The agency “has drafted a plan with contingencies ready for implementation depending on the (legal) opinion,” the VA response said. The agency did not elaborate on what the plan is or when refunds will be issued.  

 

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Breaking News

Former State Senator Reportedly Found Shot to Death at Her Home

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A former Arkansas state senator was reportedly found dead at her home this week, and authorities are investigating her death as a homicide.

The body of a woman was discovered Tuesday night at Linda Collins-Smith’s residence in the city of Pocahontas, some 145 miles northeast of the state capital, Little Rock. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies responded to the scene and then asked the Arkansas State Police to be the lead investigative agency in what is currently being treated as a homicide investigation.

“The condition of the body prevented any immediate positive identification,” Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell said at a press conference Wednesday. “The body has been sent for an autopsy to determine the positive identification and cause of death.

Authorities wouldn’t say if Collins-Smith is the victim, and a judge has issued a gag order sealing the documents and statements obtained by police.

“Arkansas State Police has not, as of this hour, issued a statement that positively identifies a homicide victim in this case,” Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler told ABC News in an email early Thursday morning.

However, Collins-Smith’s former press secretary, Ken Yang, told Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV that she was found shot to death inside her home and her body was wrapped in some sort of blanket. Neighbors apparently reported hearing gunshots a day or two before her body was discovered.

Collins-Smith, who ran for reelection last year but was defeated in the Republican Party primary, was “someone who truly cared about Arkansas, truly cared about her district,” according to Yang. She was 57.

“It was shocking,” he said during an interview Tuesday night. “This was not just a political relationship. This was a close personal friendship that I had with Linda.”

Politicians on both sides of the aisle expressed shock and sadness at the news of the death of their Republican colleague.

“I’m both stunned and saddened by the death of former State Senator Linda Collins-Smith,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “She was a good person who served in the public arena with passion and conviction. The First Lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.”

“Today, we learned of the untimely death of former Senator Linda Collins Smith. She was a passionate voice for her people and a close member of our Republican family,” the Republican Party of Arkansas said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “We are praying for her loved ones during this difficult time.”

“To so many of us, Senator Linda Collins-Smith was more than just a colleague,” the Democratic Party of Arkansas said in a statement via Twitter on Tuesday night. “She was a friend and warm person. We are stunned and saddened to hear of her death. Please join us in prayer as we remember her family and her loved ones.”

Collins-Smith lost to James Sturch in the Republican Party primary for the 19th district in Arkansas in May 2018 by fewer than 600 votes. She previously served one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, switching parties after being elected as a Democrat.

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Breaking News

Police arrest stepfather of 4-year-old girl he claims was kidnapped

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The stepfather of missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis was arrested and charged in connection to her disappearance, one week after he told Texas police that she was kidnapped by three men who assaulted and knocked him unconscious.

Derion Vence, 26, was arrested by the Houston Police Department at a relative’s home and charged with tampering with evidence, human corpse, in the disappearance of his stepdaughter on the night of May 4.

Although a police source told ABC News that the young girl was still missing, they would not say whether she was believed to be dead or alive.

Police said in a statement on Saturday that they had obtained blood evidence linked to Maleah from Vence’s apartment and that he was seen leaving his apartment with a full laundry basket, which was found Thursday along with a gas can in the trunk of the silver Nissan Altima that he reported missing following the kidnapping.

At a late night hearing, the district attorney said cadaver dogs reacted to scents in the trunk and the laundry basket.

Vence reported the abduction on May 5, nearly 24 hours after it occurred, claiming that he had been unconscious for much of that time, according to the statement.

He told police that he was driving with Maleah and his 2-year-old son on the night of May 4 to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston to pick up the girl’s mother, Brittany Bowens, who was returning from a trip to Massachusetts, police said.

He said that on the way there, he heard a popping noise coming from his car that made him believe he had a flat tire, so he pulled over to check on it. When he got out of the car, he said that a blue pickup truck pulled up behind him and two men got out, police said during a news conference on May 5.

He told police that one of the men commented on Maleah’s appearance as the other hit him in the head, knocking him out, police said.

Vence told police that he kept going in and out of consciousness, but at one point realized that he was in the back of the pickup truck where there were actually three men and that he also saw Maleah and his son in the truck, police said.

He said that he regained consciousness the next day with only his son in Sugar Land, nearly 22 miles southwest of central Houston, and walked to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital where he received treatment and reported Maleah missing, police said.

Although he told police that his car was taken during the kidnapping, surveillance footage showed someone in the Nissan dropping Vence off at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital on May 5, police said.

Vence’s public defender asked for a $5,000 bond, while the district attorney proposed $500,000.

Instead, the judge ruled Vence be held on $1 million bond since the ongoing investigation “is likely to result in a significant upgrade to this second-degree felony.”

Houston police are asking anyone with information about the case, the whereabouts of Maleah Davis or the person who sold the gas can to Vence to contact the department’s Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.

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