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posted: 8/15/2013 5:00 AM

VA backlog too big to help veterans

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Here are my views about the Veterans Affairs branch in Chicago.

They have just a few hundred personnel that are supposed to complete three cases a day -- with a backlog of 10,000 to 20,000 VA claims waiting for approval or sent to the Governors Board of Appeals in Washington for consideration and approval.

I am 79 years old and a wounded Korean War veteran. My claims were started at the VFW office at the North Chicago VA Hospital (now Captain James Lovell VA Hospital) in 1995. After filing my claims, I immediately received disability for hearing and received hearing aids. Since then, I've also submitted claims for frostbite and a rash on my left leg, for which I spent six days at the VA hospital, where they wanted to amputate my leg below the knee in 2004. I said no, and they eventually brought in specialists and got the swelling down but did not know what the problem was, suggesting that perhaps a doctor from Korea could identify it. I finally hired a lawyer who works to help veterans with claims to help me get my due compensation.

My congressmen have not helped me. My lawyer finally got my case out of Chicago and sent to Washington. Due to my age, they moved my case up front, and within two months, it was sent back to Chicago Veterans Affairs telling them to have a specialist examine me. That was six months ago.

Now the local agency sent my case back to Washington again. Do I have to die before I get my due compensation?

There is a lot more I could say, but read the book "Chosin" or get the movie "One Minute To Zero" (with Robert Mitchum and Ann Blyth).

Charles R. Vizek

Round Lake

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