Upset Veterans Say Town Hall Wasn't Helpful

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Hundreds of upset veterans attended a town hall at the VA Regional Office in Columbia Thursday night.

Veterans lined up to express their anger to VA Regional Director Leanne Weldin for the long wait times when it comes to benefit claims.

Over the past few years Weldin says they've gotten the backlog of claims down from 24,000 to 14,000 but agrees there is more work to be done.

"We need to get our claims processed faster, waiting 300 plus days is not fast enough. We want to be faster, accurate and get veterans their benefits in their hands," said Director Weldin.

Earl Ravenell drove from Charleston to speak with the Director.

"I sent this to the regional office and they still denied most of my claims saying that my injuries were not service connected," said Ravenell.

Ravenell suffers from PTSD among other injuries while he was in the Army.

He's waited for more than two years for some of his benefits. He says the VA lost his medical records so he got recommendations from several doctors and his claims were still denied.

"We are veterans, I've been shot and for the VA to deny my claim is disheartening."

Chip Albritton was one of more than 200 who attended the forum.

"Waiting for things to process that's the big thing," said Albritton.

He's upset because at the forum veterans were able to sit down and with staff and get further help... he says it shouldn't take a forum to do that.

"These guys had to come to a public forum for them to say ok let me help you."

Director Weldin says they are working everyday to cut down on the number of veterans that have to wait.

During the meeting Ravenell sat down with staff, but he says his situation has not changed.

"I thought I was going to get some help and get the ball rolling but I learned its not what I expected," said Ravenell.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment