Local veterans waiting years for disability benefits

A local man hasn't gotten the federal support he expected.

ZEPHYRHILLS — Sgt. Scott Far joined the Army at 17 with big dreams.
 
“I was going to get married, own a home, be retired at 37, out of the military (with retirement),” said Farr of his plans to serve. “It didn’t happen that way.”
 
After a decade of service including tours overseas, injuries to his neck and back not only cost Farr his military career but robbed him the ability to work other jobs, too.
 
“The (Veterans Administration) doctors told me 'no more' because my body just couldn’t take it,” recalled Farr, who in 2010 was recommended by his physician for 100 percent disability.
 
Now, six and a half years later, he’s still waiting on final approval from the VA.
 
“It’s sitting on somebody’s desk and it isn’t moving.”
 
Congressman Gus Bilirakis is among lawmakers supporting a bill which would speed up a VA approval process which on average can take up to three or four years, according to his office. When a veteran is forced to appeal an unfavorable decision, that typically adds four to five more years.
 
“That’s much too long, Mr. Speaker,” Congressman Bilirakis said Tuesday while addressing fellow lawmakers in Washington.  “This process is broken and need to be modernized right now.”
 
Farr does receive 80 percent disability, but says full disability would enable him to get the care he needs, including some much-needed dental work which is currently not covered.
 
In the meantime, he says the VA told him he’s number 1,800 on the waiting list with no timeline on when a final decision might be made.
 
“Instead of it being processed right away it keeps piling and piling and piling, which sets everything backwards,” said Farr.
 
10News WTSP reached out to the local VA but has not yet heard back. After hearing about this story, Congressman Bilirakis’ office plans to be in touch with Mr. Farr to see if they can help with his benefits request.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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