(Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — A data breach at the Department of Veterans Affairs has potentially compromised the personal information of roughly 46,000 veterans, the agency announced Monday.

VA officials said the agency is already reaching out to the veterans impacted including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased. The department is offering free credit monitoring to anyone whose Social Security numbers were accessible.

The Federal Services Center, the finance department for the VA, discovered one of its online applications was “accessed by unauthorized users” who gained access to financial information, according to a VA statement. It was unclear Monday when the breach was discovered or which specific application was compromised. However, the compromised application was taken offline, according to the VA.

Veterans and beneficiaries who have not been contacted by VA officials are not at risk of having their information stolen, according to the department’s statement on the breach.

"Veterans whose information was involved are advised to follow the instructions in the letter to protect their data," the statement said. "There is no action needed from veterans if they did not receive an alert by mail, as their personal information was not involved in the incident."

Veterans or next-of-kin who receive notification their information is potentially at risk from this incident can send questions to or write to VA FSC Help Desk, Attn: Customer Engagement Center, P.O. Box 149971, Austin, TX 78714-9971. Twitter: @StevenBeynon

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