A recent editorial titled “A Fix is Overdue for VA” emphasized that a military veteran should not have to wait more than 125 days for Veterans Affairs Dept. to answer a disability claim. Our Indianapolis VA regional office averages 370 days, with 77 percent of the remaining claims overdue. My appeal, in waiting and dated 27 Nov. 2012, is not expected to be reached for two years by VA.

In Germany during the winter of 1944-1945 I was wounded by the force of an explosion above my head, slightly to the front and left. I did not fall back for sick call. I wanted to stay with my buddies that I had helped train the previous summer. I had a severe earache and hearing problem. The earache ceased in a few weeks, but not the hearing problem. I was on the front for 143 days.

During Army discharge a year later, a medical Army colonel discovered the nerve ends in my inner ears were “bent” by force of the explosion. In a weakened condition (bent) he informed me hearing “gradually worsened.” There are two holes in my left ear canal, but the weakened nerve ends are the main problem. The colonel told me file with the VA and he recommended 20 percent compensation after the lengthy exam.

The VA doctor looked in each ear with a light, glanced at the Army colonel’s report and dismissed me. I received 20 percent compensation 7 Jan. 1946.

In June 1948 I was ordered to report to the VA. The employee arose from his desk, placed his left hand on my right elbow, escorted me to the exit door and gave me a sealed envelope. Arriving at my car I opened it. Compensation to stop on 31 August 1948. NO EXAM. I appealed but no change.

Meantime I had received employment with the Navy at Crane in a civilian job. I received a lengthy exam by a medical Navy commander who agreed with the Army colonel noted above. During 32 years of Navy employment my hearing “gradually worsened” as noted on periodic exams.

VA issued me hearing aids as needed and finally agreed with 30 percent disability compensation as of 1 Sept. 1994, exactly 46 years after stopping compensation on 31 Aug. 1948 with NO EXAM.

My last appeal was sent to a Texas firm for adjudication. I have now received compensation for the 46 years!

Granddad Jim taught us, “If you think you’re right, don’t give up.” I thought I was right from August 1948 to August 2013. Thanks Granddad Jim.

Fred Overton


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