SGT. SHAFT: Veteran and spouse fight for ailments to be treated

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

We have been in combat with the VA for far too long now, since 1987.

My wife was injured at boot camp in 1980 and did not receive proper care at that time. She was also the victim of Military Sexual Trauma (MST), which should expedite her claims, but has been ignored thus far.

The original rating was 10 percent (or 10 percent of the money the VA will give her) due to an injury to the left ankle, requiring a cloth brace for stability. Since then, she has progressed, first to two braces, then to two metal braces, And later adding two knee braces as well. She uses crutches to get around and occasionally requires a wheelchair or power chair. The VA has provided all of the braces and crutches for all these years, so they do recognize her injuries.

She has developed a list of other symptoms, such as lumbar and cervical problems due to the crutches, fibromyalgia, and developing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) due to non-treatment of the sexual assault in boot camp. After multiple claims and appeals, her rating remains at 10 percent. She was recently fitted for a special walker, because the crutches are causing wrist problems.

After going through all six stages of a Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) appeal (2008-2012), the Appeal was remanded for more information and possibly more examinations. All the additional info requested is in her local VA treatment records, and I have seen the file. It is more than 6 inches thick.

According to the U.S. Code, Title 38, Section 5109B: “The Secretary shall take such actions as may be necessary to provide for the expeditious treatment by the appropriate regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration of any claim that is remanded to a regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.”

I have written our congressman, various agencies, and even the president, and finally did get a lame response of “we are working as quickly as we can.” I am not buying it.

Thanks,
Jim L.
Via the Internet

Dear Jim:

As you know, as indicated by your following letter, the Sarge referred your wife’s concerns to the powers that be at the VA.

Dear Sgt. Shaft, Superhero:

I wish to thank you for your help, I am not sure what you were able to do, but after getting nowhere after writing our congressman, the president and some other organizations, I wrote to you, not really expecting an answer. I just had to do something.

Again, I do not know what you did, but two days after I emailed you my wife’s info, she got an urgent call from the Cleveland Regional office, apologizing profusely because, precisely as I thought, they had NOT put her in expedited status, as she should have been in a case from 2006.

She had two compensation-and-pension appointments last week and another today, and hopefully is back on the right track to getting upgraded.

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