Veterans die awaiting pension benefits
In November, more than a year after Vietnam veteran John Conrad died of leukemia, the VA sent his widow a letter acknowledging his cancer was caused by exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.
The decision marked a reversal for the agency, which had denied Conrad’s claim for disability benefits for three years while the former Army specialist was still alive. The denials had come despite supporting medical opinions from a series of doctors, including the VA’s own oncologist.
“We went through our savings and our retirement money. And then, after he died, they said they made a mistake and sent a check for $79,000,” his widow, Linda Conrad, said in an interview at her home outside Phoenix.
By the time the VA reversed itself, the family home was in foreclosure. Linda Conrad, who had quit her job as a paralegal to care for her husband during his last days, found her efforts to secure a new job thwarted by the recession.
Full report here…