Vets fight the V. A. - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Vets fight the V. A.

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Lawmakers called on President Obama to improve the massive backlog in disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Nearly 900,000 claims are waiting to be processed.

Two veterans have waited years for the VA to come through for them. Millions of men and women have risked their lives to defend our freedom. "I was in the army for three years," said William Crawley.

"I'm a veteran marine and I spent time in Vietnam," said  Jimmy Davis.

These two Vietnam vets knew the risks when they enlisted. "We were getting hit pretty hard we were all running for cover. I went airborne and when I landed I don't remember."

But they never thought they would end up fighting a battle in their own country. "You figure they will take care of you when these things happen but that's not the case."

William Crawley suffered a knee injury and Jimmy Davis developed cancer linked to their time in Vietnam.

"The cancer they've denied my disability so far, and the cancer is supposed to be 100% disability." So they've been saddled with expenses.

"I told my wife, if I quit we've got to sell everything we got. And right now I'm not willing to do that." 

"The V. A. is refusing to acknowledge that his condition is non Hodgkins lymphoma. And that is just false." said attorney Keith Pflepsen. "It's just unimaginable, that people who gave this sacrifice for their country should have to wait around for years to get compensation they are clearly due."

He says the VA refuses to acknowledge this document clearly stating the cancer diagnosis by doctors. And the VA confuses him with someone else.

"There is no problem with people getting government aid in America."

 He's represented other veterans with similar complaints against the Veteran's administration. "It seems like the veterans, the ones who sacrifice so much the ones who have paid the ultimate dues by injuries or worse, are the ones having the most trouble getting government aid."

They've waited for years, and their wait is likely far from over. "I'd say its probably 6 or 7 years before it goes through the appeals process." But these men remain optimistic, and plan to fight until the end. According to the V. A., the average wait time for a claim be processed is 286 days.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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