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Service To Country Turns Into 4-year Fight For Veteran's Disability

6:47 PM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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Piedmont Triad, NC -- A North Carolina veteran who served his country for 22 years in the United States Air Force is now fighting a battle he never thought he would.

Retired Master Sergeant Clarence Moore developed sleep apnea during the Gulf War. When he returned home, he filed for disability benefits with the Veterans Administration.

"It just became difficult to breathe. I have a lot of problems sleeping at night. Living with sleep apnea is very difficult," Moore explained. "You wake up in the middle of the night, and sometimes if you don't have the proper CPAP machine, then you can actually die from it."

The Veterans Administration denied Moore's claim, saying the condition wasn't service related.

He filed an appeal in 2008 and waited until 2012 for a hearing.
A judge finally ruled in his favor in March. 

Paperwork shows the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) determined the VA owes Moore $43,126.80 in retroactive payment.

Moore thought it would be a "shut-and-done" case, but there is a horrible backlog at the VA that's kept files like Moore's from being processed in a timely fashion.

Moore's fight is going on five years. He says he's just waiting for what's rightfully his.

"Each year, I would follow up with the VA, I would get letters that due to the backlog of all the VA claims and that I would just have to continue to wait," Moore said.

"They didn't really feel, you know, understand what I was going through; to understand that I've served my country for 22 years, I have a service-connected type of ailment, and all I want is just my due."

Moore pushed his case to anyone he thought could help him. He sent letters to the president, the VA director, Senator Richard Burr.

As of Friday, he hadn't gotten any responses. Senator Burr's office was looking into the matter.

After a 2 Wants 2 Know investigation, the VA told Faith Abubey it'd expedite Moore's case and he should have his check in a couple of weeks.

A spokesperson with the Winston-Salem regional office explained, the audit for Moore's file was among a batch incorrectly done by DFAS.

The VA had to send hundreds of files, including Moore's, back for a second audit, adding to processing time.

She also admits, the backlog issue is not ideal and the administration is working on several solutions.

As for Moore, he says veterans are going through what he did should be persistent until you get answers.

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