Health

Veteran Can't Walk or Talk, Told to Go Back to Work by VA

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Ken Moore is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from cancer and exposure to Agent Orange, which has caused him heart and lung problems.

However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denied Moore full disability benefits and told him in a letter to go back to work, even though he cannot walk or talk.

"He read it [the VA Letter] and was like, 'This can't be real. It can't be happening. This is a nightmare,'" Ken's wife Judy told WSMV.

Moore, who is currently on oxygen, filed for full disability last September.

In support of his claim, a doctor at the VA hospital in Murfreesboro, Tenn., wrote a letter to the main VA office in Washington D.C. stating: "I do not think that there is a reasonable likelihood that he will improve to the point that he can return to work."

Eight months later, Moore got the letter of denial from the VA, which claimed that the evidence failed to show that he was unable to work.

"What's he got to do? Does he have to die to prove to them that he can't work?" added Judy. "I'm afraid he's going to give up. And I don't have the strength to deal with these people."

Moore provided more medical evidence, including his cancer diagnosis, to the VA in June, but did not hear back.

However, in an amazing coincidence, the VA suddenly granted Moore full disability after being contacted by WSMV this week.

The VA also said it would make Moore's claim retroactive to February 2013, which was the last time Moore was able to work.

U.S. Veterans can be turned down if there is not a notation in their military records of them being injured while in the service, or if the VA employee is trying to meet his or her monthly quota of cases finished, which is how VA workers earn points.

"Well, if you don't get your points, you know, you don't get bonuses, promotions, you know, you don't get the bennies," Ron Robinson, a VA employee for 13 years, told CBS News.

Claims are often denied unfairly because VA employees don't read the cases thoroughly, says attorney Douglas Rosinski, who has been handling veterans' cases for a decade.

"When you get a denial, and it says, 'We didn't see,' that's right," said Rosinski. "I mean, they're not lying, but if you don't look, you don't see. And even if you're looking, it's hard to find out what's in there."

The VA denies there is any pressure on its employees to get cases done quickly, only accurately.

Sources: WSMV and CBS News

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