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Letter: Getting support for vets is difficult

Posted: June 5, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: June 5, 2011 1:30 a.m.

I read with interest J.D. Kennedy’s guest commentary about “SCV-area vets have resources, local support” dated May 7.

Wherein, I have to agree with Kennedy about the abundance of resources and support in our valley, his article does not address the red tape and years of delays filing claims and getting responses to claims.

I have service-related tinnitus and bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. I filed paperwork with the V.A. back on Dec. 11, 2003.

On May 15, 2009, after mounds of paperwork and having two clinical audiologist assessments, I received a notification from the V.A. that it agreed with the tinnitus claim, but denied my claim for bilateral hearing loss.

I have since visited the V.A. ambulatory care center in Sepulveda, and discovered that I was eligible for hearing aids, even though the V.A. has denied my claim for hearing loss. Go figure.

Due to the decision of the V.A. on my hearing-loss claim, I had to appeal its decision. Now, three years later, I am still waiting for a V.A. decision as my hearing continues to deteriorate.

Getting in touch with anyone at the V.A. is another issue.

One example, back in December 2010, I received a letter from the V.A. National Service Director Domonique Maestas. I called Maestas eight times on eight different days to confirm my appointment for a travel board hearing for my hearing loss. I never received a call back, but I confirmed with Maestas’ assistant that she was in the office and would return my calls. I never did receive a call from her.

Recently, I called the audiology department at the V.A. ambulatory care center, and was placed on hold for more than 37 minutes. This is typical of the kind of service levels I have experienced with the V.A.

It is apparent many of us are still fighting our own war with the V.A., filling out paperwork and waiting for them to get around to making a decision.

Maybe Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, can help in this area, also.


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