Department of Veterans Affairs officials wrongly declared 4,201 veterans as deceased when they were still living, and stripped them of their benefits between 2011 and 2015.

In a letter to Rep. Dave Jolly, R-Fla., who first raised the issue with the VA last year, acting Undersecretary for Benefits Danny Pummill said the VA was unable to determine why any of the veterans were accidentally listed in the agency's records as deceased.

Pummill cited "employee error" and a glitch in the VA's data program as potential roots of the problem.

Last year alone, 1,025 veterans had their benefit payments cut off and subsequently reinstated by the VA after mistaken death notices.

"These numbers confirm our suspicion, that mistaken deaths by the VA have been a widespread problem impacting thousands of veterans across the country," Jolly said. "It's a problem that should have been addressed years ago, as it has caused needless hardships for thousands of people who had their benefits terminated and their world turned upside down."

The Florida Republican is pressing the VA to assess how many veterans are falsely declared dead on an annual basis, instead of every five years, in order to correct the problem.

Pummill noted in his letter to Jolly that the VA issued accurate death notices in 99.8 percent of all cases between 2011 and 2015.