Tiffin vet still waiting more than a year after filing VA claim - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Tiffin vet still waiting more than a year after filing VA claim

Matthew Haley Matthew Haley
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TIFFIN, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A massive backlog at the Department of Veteran Affairs for disability and other claims affects hundreds of thousands of veterans.

Matthew Haley of Tiffin joined the United States Army right after graduating from high school in June 1987.

Shortly after boot camp, Haley says he started to have severe lower back pain. He has records of numerous trips to military doctors from 1988 to 1990 diagnosing him with disc and vertebrae issues. Yet, he says he continued his service and even spent 6 months in Kuwait during the very beginning of the gulf war.

Haley was honorably discharged after 3 years and 11 months of service. Fast forward 22 years, Haley tells us he finally had back surgery in July 2012. He says his doctor told him he can't and shouldn't work. In November 2012, Haley started his disability claim with the VA.

"It's only supposed to take about 275 days in order for a claim to go through. Mine was sitting at right around 385 days," said Haley.

According to the VA website, there are over 400,000 claims in backlog. The VA has a goal to have them all answered in 2015.

Haley is still in the process of getting his claim approved. It will likely take many more weeks. Haley says he's having a hard time making ends meet, and now the stress is taking a mental toll. Haley feels he deserves his disability benefits, just as the other thousands of vets in his same position and he wants to raise awareness.

"It's not only me they're hurting, but it's other veterans and their families that are relying on benefits and aren't getting because their cases are backlogged," said Haley. "I'm at the point where I'm not trying to milk the system. I'm just trying to get something accomplished with this."

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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