Editor's Note: This is the first part in a series of stories from the Washington Examiner about benefit claims backlog at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
WASHINGTON — Mike Montgomery earned what he is owed the hard way in 13 months of combat in Vietnam where for days at a time the former Marine huddled in monsoon-swept rice paddies raked by enemy gunfire and soaked in Agent Orange by U.S. aircraft.
Since his 1968 discharge, Montgomery has fought the Department of Veterans Affairs over multiple health problems linked to his military service.
The VA initially rated him as partially disabled.
In June, Montgomery filed paperwork to change his disability rating to reflect the new condition. All he's heard since from the VA is two form letters noting the delay.
Montgomery is among the more than 1.1 million veterans trapped in bureaucratic limbo waiting for VA to process claims for disability and pension benefits earned through military service. Many will wait years for an answer.
See the Washington Examiner's complete story at www.washingtonexaminer.com