Vietnam Veteran Files Claim Against Department of Veteran Affairs

June 22, 2005--Posted at 6:00 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO-- Vietnam veteran Tommy Crump has received many honors for his service to our country, but he says his efforts have been disrespected by the government.
Crump is suing the Department of Veteran Affairs for denying him 14 years of disability.
"I think a lot of times, talk is pretty cheap when it comes to laws that are on the books for veterans and how veterans are treated," Tommy Crump says.
Crump is a decorated war veteran that even earned the purple heart, but filed a claim for what he says was a legitimate disability 26 years ago, and was denied....
The claim was filed and denied in 1979, and it wasn't until 14 years later that the mistake was realized.
Crump was never even given a hearing to determine his eligibility for disability before the first claim was denied, but after that 14 year wait, he finally got the hearing he deserved.
"From that hearing I went from absolutely nothing to 100 percent permanently disabled," Crump says.
But the problem is, he never received compensation for all the years he did without.
"From 1979 to 1993, nothing had changed, and all the information that was submitted at the 93 hearing had been sumitted in 1979," Crump says.
And for that reason he hired an attorney to filed an appeal.
They ruled that his rights had been violated and that there was clear and unmistakable error on the part of the Department of Veteran Affairs, but Crump says this ruling and his 26 year battle could mean nothing.
"My claim against the Dept. of Veterans Affairs dies with me. My family has no right to continue the claim. In other words, whatever benefits I have coming from that period will be lost," Crump says.
An example he says leaves a bad impression for today's soldiers.
"Some of these young soldiers are seeing how their parents and grandparents have been treated by the government that professes to love care and respect veterans when in reality they don't show it," Crump says.