Army vet granted V.A. benefits after Target 8 intervenes

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – A Brandon Army veteran was denied V.A. benefits to which he was entitled.  He asked for help from Target 8 and the battle he waged for nearly a year ended within two days.

Carver Taitt joined the U.S. Army in 1978.

He was a paratrooper and worked in chemical warfare.

Disabilities that he developed in the Army ended his military career in 1990.  Following his retirement, he received a small V.A. disability check each month.

“I didn’t put that uniform on for any special credit.  I put it on because I believe,” said Taitt.

At the V.A. last April, an employee advised Taitt, that since he was married, he was entitled to spousal benefits.

“I says ‘well that’s the first I’ve heard of it,'” he explained.

Not long after applying, someone identifying himself as a supervisor from the V.A. regional office in St. Petersburg told Taitt there was no record that he was married.  Taitt explained he was married to his wife, Gemma, for more than 40 years.

“He says, ‘well I’m in charge and at this point, I make the decisions and I’m not going to give it to you,'” Taitt remembered.

The harsh treatment didn’t sit well.

“When someone tells me, in essence, that he doesn’t care about me as a soldier, it bothers me,” said Taitt.

V.A. paperwork from 2007 shows that not only was Taitt married, he also had a son.  So, he filed paperwork with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. and waited.

Around Thanksgiving, Taitt watched a Target 8 report about another veteran, Keith Addis.  Addis had tried unsuccessfully for nine years to convince the V.A. that he had been married to his wife for more than 30 years.

Addis forwarded his paperwork to Target 8.  We forwarded it on to the V.A.  The next day, a letter was sent out, approving his spousal benefits.

“You helped immensely,” he said.

“They did the same thing to him, telling him ‘basically, your wife doesn’t exist,'” Taitt observed. “So, I said, ‘you know, let me call Mr. Andrews.'”

Taitt forwarded his documentation to Target 8.  We forwarded it to the V.A.

Two days later, the V.A. approved his spousal benefits.

“I said wow, this is really fast.  8 was On My Side.”

Not only that, the V.A. also provided dependent benefits for his son.  All the benefits are retroactive to 2002.

“This is what results is all about, and I feel that we need more people like you guys out there to make a difference,” said Taitt.

Bruce Clisby from the V.A. regional office told us that he couldn’t comment on the case, because of privacy issues, but the review and assistance came from the St. Petersburg office.

If you have a problem that you think needs to be investigated call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808.

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