Every veteran has his or her own experience with the difficulties of navigating the bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration. These stories can be tragic and can detail people being denied absolutely essential benefits that they completely deserve. Many of these stories lack a happy ending.
One East Tennessee veteran has won benefits that should have been awarded to him 49 years ago. As was reported on wbir.com, veteran Scott Ely was recently awarded benefits for injuries that happened in 1966. While serving in Vietnam, Mr. Ely was injured by a mortar shell that exploded near his head. He suffered hearing loss as a result of the force of the blast.
Due to the misinterpretation of a hearing test that was given to him prior to being released from the hospital, Mr. Ely was determined to have normal hearing despite having suffered a “blast concussion” in both ears in combat. Mr. Ely had been awarded a Purple Heart for his injuries.
None of this was sufficient to convince the VA that Mr. Ely had indeed suffered hearing loss due to combat injury. Only once he began to work with an experienced attorney who understood the VA was he able to secure the level of benefits he had deserved all along.
Currently, Mr. Ely has received an increase in his monthly benefits commensurate with his recently recognized status. However, the matter of compensating him for the years where he was not properly receiving the full benefits he deserved is still ongoing and could result in a substantial lump sum payment.