Veteran’s appeal for benefits drags on for 7 years

RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WFLA) — Navy veteran Frank Clark is barely making it.

“My roof is leaking really bad, I have holes in the floor, I have electricity only on one side of the house,” said Frank.

The American flag is proudly displayed outside of Frank’s Riverview home.  Inside, it is far from the American dream — his walls are crumbling.

“My roof is leaking really bad, I have holes in the floor, I have electricity only on one side of the house,” said Frank.

If the Department of Veterans Affairs had approved his service-related disability claim, he might not have to live counting pennies.

Records show Frank filed the claim in 2008 after suffering a head injury during his time in the Navy.  He says he received a letter the following year from the agency containing some very disturbing information:  “They had lost or misplaced the one military medical record that had proved my case,” he said.

Frank contacted the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis where all military personnel records are stored, but the response they gave him didn’t make Frank feel any better. He was informed his medical records were “lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Gone.

In 2010, the VA denied Frank’s claim.

His case has now lingered in their appeal process for seven years.  The entire ordeal has dragged on for nine years.

“I’ll be 70 years old this month and like the saying goes, delay, deny until I die. And I think that’s exactly what’s happening,” added Frank. “Their response is we’re working on it, we’re still working on it.”

Frank has reached out to his Congressional representatives, but he says they haven’t been able to accomplish much.

So while the flag still flies proudly in front of Frank Clark’s home, he worries by the time the VA gets around to doing anything, he may have nothing left. We will reach out to the agency on Frank Clark’s behalf.

If you have something that you think should be investigated call our Target 8 Helpline at 1 800 338-0808 or contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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