updated 6/21/2006 10:14:42 AM ET 2006-06-21T14:14:42

Veterans whose personal information was stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee’s home last month will receive free credit monitoring from the government to protect against identity theft, the government said Wednesday.

Names, Social Security numbers and birthdates for up to 26.5 million veterans and military troops were taken from a data analyst’s suburban Maryland home on May 3.

Those eligible for the credit monitoring will be any of the 17 million people who are known to have had their Social Security numbers compromised.

Those people, who have already received warning letters from the department this month, will need to contact the VA to receive the service, said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The VA was expected to announce details of the proposal at a news conference later Wednesday.

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