Vet waits years for VA to respond to appeal - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Vet waits years for VA to respond to appeal

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COLUMBIA, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A local vet is homeless and bankrupt. Unable to hold a job after suffering injuries while in service, he has appealed to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help, but he hasn't received a response since 2010.

Steve Sanford filed bankruptcy six months ago and is now staying with a friend. He's also a veteran from the Vietnam era. Sanford said he contracted hepatitis during his service time in Germany and also suffered a double hernia.

"I was lifting a machine gun and when I lifted it I got a double hernia. When they operated on me they sterilized me and didn't tell me. So I couldn't have children," Sanford said.    

He said between his hepatitis making him sick and all the anti-depression medication the doctors have prescribed, it's been difficult holding down a job.

Sanford does get a disability check every month and a $100 from the VA, but he says it’s not enough to cover rent.

"That’s why I went before the board of appeals because I thought I should be getting a 100 percent disability, because I can't work. I even went back to college to try to get a job that I could do. And I couldn't do it."

Sanford said he hasn't heard any word about his appeal since 2010 and it’s not from lack of trying.

"It feels like they just put me on a shelf and forgot," Sanford said.  

Sanford said he has no regrets about enlisting in the army, but wonders what life would be like had he not.

Sanford also said he is speaking out, not just for himself, but for all the other veterans who feel ignored.

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