|Published:||Sep 20, 2013 10:28 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 20, 2013 11:07 PM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla - A heartbreaking reality for Veterans in Southwest Florida who say they're not getting the help they need when they come home from war.
One Naples man is trying to change that and repair broken lives one step at a time.
Jody Cameron is an Iraq War Veteran. Shortly after coming home in 2008, he developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He received some help from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he says, it wasn't enough. Now, he's filed a second claim and has been waiting for the past six months.
"It's ike we're just a number, lost in the system and when is it going to catch up, when is it going to help and it seems like there is not further help to be had," says Cameron.
Cameron is one of thousands of Veterans waiting for disability compensation and other benefits. "If you're injured, missing a limb, can't work because of PTSD or TBI, any of those illnesses, it takes longer for them to do their research," says Staff Sergeant Wilfredo Vasquez.
Vasquez is setting out to walk 56 miles from the VA Clinic in Naples to the VA Clinic in Cape Coral. His goal is to raise awareness about the current backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs and raise money for three local soldiers who have gone homeless in the last few months.
"There's a young marine. He's 26. He lost his eye to an IED. He lost the use of his right arm and leg. He's currently going on 18 months waiting for compensation," says Vasquez.
The VA admits it can't keep up. It says the number of claims has doubled over the last five years. That's why it's now using a more organized digital system to process claims and help eliminate the backlog.
"I know the President says they're working on it, but meanwhile people are going homeless and these are veterans," says Vasquez.
The VA say in many cases, the new digital system is cutting the amount of time it takes to process claim in half.
Meanwhile, Ssgt Vasquez says it will take him about 20 hours to finish the walk.
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