Injured Vet wants Phoebe to get moving - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Injured Vet wants Phoebe to get moving

August 30, 2006

Mitchell County --  A retired South Georgia Marine says Phoebe Putney Hospital's bureaucracy is preventing him from getting his Veteran's Administration benefits.  

John Nestale works on the mountain of paperwork he has compiled with the VA since first filing his claim in April 2001. Nestale retired from the Marines in 2000 after a twenty year career.

During his active duty, he was treated for a hip problem at Phoebe Putney Hospital. The VA has told Nestale he needs a letter from Phoebe stating that they were and are still treating him.

But Phoebe won't give him the letter, saying it requires a legal opinion.

Nestale says he knows he is just one of the many retired military men and women running into roadblocks when applying for VA benefits. "My situation is not as grave as some others, I'm sure, coming back from the war. If I'm going through this, I can just imagine what the rest of the veterans are going through, just trying to get at least a fair evaluation of their situation. And that's all I'm asking for."  

Nestale, a program analyst at the Marine Base, says he has already delayed his appearance before the Board of Appeals at the VA three times.

He's contacting U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and Congressman Sanford Bishop for help.

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