A Vietnam War veteran from Pennsylvania who says he developed chronic breathing problems in the service that continue to this day is frustrated that he has spent more than 17 years trying to obtain benefits from the Veterans' Administration. He believes the VA is hoping he will pass away before the agency has to finalize the claim.
The man says that he contracted bronchial asthma when he was ordered to burn human waste with gasoline while stationed in Vietnam in 1970. He also says that exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange contributed to his condition, which persists to this day. He has diagnoses from doctors backing up his claims.
But when he applied for veterans' benefits related to his breathing problems, the VA claimed that the man could not prove that there was a link between the feces burning and his asthma. Among their charges was that the veteran did not seek medical treatment right away. In response, the man says that he went to the clinic but staff there kept him waiting for hours until he gave up and left.
The man's benefit's claim has been rejected several times, only to be remanded on appeal. The most recent appeal was in May 2010 but the VA has yet to rule on that one.
This case demonstrates how complicated and difficult being approved for veterans' benefits can be. An attorney experienced in dealing with the VA can help make the process easier.
Source: The Morning Call, "The wait drags on for veteran seeking benefits," Paul Muschick, March 16, 2013
· To learn more about veterans' benefits, please visit our Pittsburgh veterans' benefits page.