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Friday, February 23, 2007

Local Angle on National Story: Veterans Claim Processing Nightmare

From WTAE-TV, Channel 4 [Pittsburgh]:

More than 23,000 American soldiers have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 1,000 have lost a limb, and amazingly, a Team 4 Investigation found many of those injured veterans are now fighting the U.S. government for disability benefits. ... It all comes down to this: The Veterans Administration is clogged with hundreds of thousands of claims, and that logjam is forcing some of our wounded soldiers to wait more than a full year to get the benefits due them. ...

Government documents obtained by Team 4 shows more than 30,000 veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan have pending disability claims. Hundreds are local, and the numbers continue to grow. Stephen Dennison of the American Legion helps injured veterans in western Pennsylvania file claims. He said wounded warriors deserve better. "Then you come back to the United States, and you get out of the service, and you have to go through a hassle to get your benefits?" said Dennison. "That's not the way the government should take care of veterans."

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