November 12, 2009

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Vietnam Veteran receives retroactive PTSD benefits

Hall, left, and Kehoe

CHESTER – Edward Kehoe, a local Vietnam Veteran, received retroactive disability benefits for injuries he received from Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

Kehoe, of Chester, served in Vietnam from 1966 until 1971 and during his service was awarded the Bronze Star among other honors. Exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide contaminant used in the war, the loss of friends and heavy combat, left Kehoe with post traumatic stress disorder. The disorder hindered his transition back to civilian life. 

After many years, in 1996, Kehoe was finally given a disability rating of 100 percent, but did not receive any retroactive benefits. After 20 years of attempting to get those benefits he will now begin to receive them.

Kehoe did not mince words in his description of the Veterans Administration.

“I can say it, but I don’t expect anyone else to say it: the VA adjudicative system, in addition to many times being underfunded and understaffed, under-qualified with many of the people, they are also adversarial by nature and the idea is to deny as many people as they can,” he claimed.

Rep. John Hall Wednesday paid a visit to Kehoe to congratulate and thank him for his service in the war. 

“It’s unfair to make a man who has sacrificed for his country go through decades of fighting through the bureaucratic red tape,” he said.

Hall is currently working on a bill that would approve PTSD benefits for all veterans with the ailment, including women, who now comprise 17 percent of our armed forces, but who may be placed in “non-combative” roles.   


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