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Pennsylvania man struggles to obtain veterans' benefits

No one ever said that life is easy for veterans. One 60-year-old Pennsylvania veteran who is currently on disability-forced retirement is having a particularly rough time with his veterans' benefits. He says that he is trying to navigate a never-ending dispute about his hospital bills, which has put him in a serious financial bind.

The man's situation is so dire that he is reportedly not even able to buy the heating oil he needs. The man says that he is in the awkward position of having an income that is too high for energy assistance, but, because of his medical bills, he is unable to buy the heating oil he requires. His situation also leaves him unable to pay his county property tax.

The man's medical problems began in 2011 when he needed to have one of his kidneys taken out due to cancer. That resulted in a forced medical retirement and the loss of his primary source of income. Before his illness, he worked at SCI Fayette as a prison guard.

Veterans with honorable discharges can receive health care benefits, but may, in certain circumstances, have a co-pay fee. That fee is often waived or reduced if household income is below a certain point, but this is contingent upon the veteran keeping his or her information current. In this case, the veteran's focus on his health, rather than on paperwork, has resulted in him having medical bills he cannot pay.

Sometimes, veterans' benefits issues can become so complex that it may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Like this Pennsylvania veteran, many people find themselves drowning in medical debt, having their wages garnished or being denied benefits. People in similar situations may benefit from the help a Veterans' benefits attorney can provide. 

Source: post-gazette.com, "Emergencies, VA bureaucracy create headaches for veteran", Steve Twedt, Oct. 28, 2014

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