I-Team Troubleshooter: Loophole on veteran's parental rights costs taxpayers

Katie Urban doesn't mince words when it comes to the man who fathered her daughter Kayleigh.
February 25, 2014 3:20:52 PM PST
Katie Urban doesn't mince words when it comes to the man who fathered her daughter Kayleigh.

"It's a nice little side job.  He's getting paid to be a sperm donor essentially," said Urban.

Kayleigh was three when her biological dad signed away all parental rights.

"He's not legally the father of my daughter. We have the adoption paperwork to prove that," said Urban.

But even though the law doesn't see him as Kayleigh's father, the Department of Veterans Affairs does.

"It kind of shocked me the VA was willing to continue to pay him for a child that is legally not his," said Urban.

Urban's ex-husband is an ex-soldier and gets monthly disability checks from the Army for injuries he sustained while on active duty.  And, with his disability rating, he's entitled to extra funds for having a child.  Urban says she just recently discovered her ex was getting money for Kayleigh even though he gave up all parental rights six years ago.

"It feels like we are throwing away money that could be given to other veterans who truly need that financial assistance every month and not someone that works full time and is getting paid for a child that's not his," Urban offered.

I reached out to the ex-husband. He admits he gets the disability money for Kayleigh, and he admits he's had no involvement in her life since he signed away his parental rights. But, he says he doesn't ask for the money - the government just gives it to him.

And that's what's driving Urban to get the rules changed.

"No one should be getting this money. No veteran should be allowed to claim a child that's not yours," she said.

Urban reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs and local lawmakers, and when she didn't get any results, she started a petition.

Click here to see the petition at change.org

Urban also reached out to us. She says she wants to change the way the VA defines a child.

"I really feel it should be fixed so that his money can be put back into the VA and go to veterans who truly need this financial assistance and not someone who's getting it through a loophole that needs to be closed," said Urban.

After a lot of inquiries, we've just learned the VA is proposing new regulations that would close that loophole and stop veterans from getting disability funds for a child that's been adopted of out their family.  

Right now, it's in the public comment stage. We'll let you know if it's enacted.

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