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Disabled vet says he’s been waiting more than 500 days for VA benefits

SEATTLE –About 25,000 disabled veterans in the Seattle area are waiting for their medical benefits.

A new report revealed it could take at least a year for disabled veterans to get their benefits, but one local vet said Thursday that it’s worse than that. As of Thursday, Aaron Bisol said, he has been waiting for 505 days to get his benefits.

Bisol gave six years of his life to military service, including two tours in Afghanistan. He was in the airborne infantry.

“There were a lot of times I thought we weren’t going to make it,” said Bisol.

vet

Aaron Bisol

The 30-year-old survived a leg injury and said he sustained permanent damage to his hearing while on the front lines. Back at home, another war started.

“A lot of veterans just feel lost; they don’t know what to do. That is where I am at this point,” said Bisol.

He filed his VA medical claim the day after his service ended in October 2011, yet he still has no idea when he will see his benefits.

“There is no one I could call and talk to, absolutely no one. I can call their 1-800 number, but I have to wait for two hours on hold,” said Bisol.

VA claims have tripled nationwide since 2010, with a rush of Iraq and Afghanistan vets filing. It’s a major backlog that is now being delayed even more by a new electronic record system.

“It’s temporary and at the end of the day it’s going to be a much better program,” said Greg Kotanchick of Disabled Veterans of America.

But every day that goes by, Bisol finds himself in deeper trouble.

His dream of becoming a firefighter is over, due to his injuries. With no college degree, it’s been hard finding a job. He is also a father who has a daughter to raise.

“People say money doesn’t change everything, but it sure helps,” said Bisol.

Bisol says he is waiting for $50,000.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it could take two years to clear the major backlog.

7 comments

  • Jeff

    Congress and the White House have cut tuition assistance for the active and guard troops. Here's an example where those education benefits could help. Service men and women need to have a way of gaining an education and a career plan for when the uniform has to come off for good.

  • Dani

    so how about a follow up on this story–how can the average american help this situation. What can we do???? give us ideas, places to go, resources, etc to help our vets! Seriously, we need to rally and make this a priority. We can't let this happen, we can take a stand…YES WE CAN. They need our help. Who's with me?

  • Jim

    In my experience the VA was outstanding. I'm not sure what's going on with these guys but my claims were handled in a timely manner. My expectations were realistic as I knew of the increased work load that the VA was under. A special thanks to the people that handle the post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I think the North West region is doing the best they can and I wish the waiting veterans the best and most expedient of luck.

  • John e Flesch jr

    I personally have been waiting for 2 years myself…..I placed my claimed in may of 2011 after I ruptured my ACL, service connected disability and initially was told 90 to 140 days……it still hasn’t been processed….after numerous calls and a letter to my congresswoman, Party Murray, nothing, NaDa……I’ve given up trying……more servicemembers need it more than I……They will get to me hopefully before I draw Social Security…..The system is broken…..Vets are being screwed as usual…….but I still love my country……

  • nate tyler

    Yes, do a follow up story Hana Kim. Testimony was held yesterday, in Washington DC. Sadly, only 2 Elected Officials thought it was importsnt enough to attend. The head of the VA wasn't even in attendance. Write to Senator Patty Murray demanding action.
    Personally, I elapsed the 500 day mark and there is nothing more frustrating. Like he says on the video, you call the VA and your on hold for up to 2 hours. You get cut off and lose your place in line. You get cut off again. The automated line isnt vet friendly, probably on purpose.
    My Compensation & Pension Appointment was October 15, 2012. You'd assume it would be totally complete/finished and ruled on by now; 5 months later. Nope. January 2, 2013 I was told by my DAV Representative that my claim is sitting on a desk waiting for a Rater to pick it up and Rate it. There is absolutely no excuse. None. The house needs to be cleaned from the top down.
    515+ Days and one pissed off Marine.

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