Vero Beach veteran says his disability has been backlogged for seven months
Vincent Pearl says he is owed $20,000
7:06 PM, May 2, 2013
VERO BEACH, Fla. - Vincent Pearl served as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy for more than two decades.
He's now living off his retirement. That retirement is dwindling, ever since his disability checks stopped coming seven months ago.
"I've dealt with the V.A., and I'm getting the same answer-- they don't know the answer," said Pearl.
His daughter, Lynne, has been helping him keep meticulous records, documenting the steps he's taken. But it hasn't helped him get the $20,000 he said he's owed at this point.
"I use my money to pay my mortgage, and everything else," he explained.
Pearl received notice he's in danger of losing the life insurance policy he's carried for forty years. It's supposed to be automatically paid out of his disability.
"So all of that money that he paid in, unless he now digs in his pocket and pays for it, he's going to lose that," Lynne said.
Pearl said he's reached out to the V.A. more than a hundred times, and he's contacted Congressman Bill Posey for help.
George Cecala, Posey's press secretary, said Posey's office can't comment on individual veteran's cases for privacy. Cecala did confirm the V.A.'s claims backlog problems are not because of lack of money.
"The VA is at historic funding levels, and has historic staffing, as well," said Cecala. "Congress is going to continue to push to get answers."
Indian River County V.A. Services Officer Joel Herman said the Privacy Act prohibits him from commenting on Pearl's case, but Herman suggested Pearl reach out to the national VA directly.
Pearl said he's already done that.
"I faxed them pictures of the checks, sent them the account number, I've got bank information there, that the bank notified them," said Pearl, of all the things he's attempted to do to get his disability funds.
Pearl said he was proud to serve, but he wishes now, he could get a little help himself. His daughter agrees.
"He's taken a lot of time out of his life and dedicated it to the country," said Lynne. "Now, it seems like he's like a second class citizen."