Veterans Returning From War Have Difficulty Getting Health Benefits

MATHER (CBS13) – In Afghanistan, Lonnie Turney knew what he was up against but never in his wildest dreams could this veteran sailor know the fight would continue upon his return home.

It’s a battle for benefits from an injury he says is combat related.

“It came up into my lower lungs,” said Turney.

Shrapnel from a Taliban rocket is now causing him pain and shortness of breath.

But Turney’s running out of breath trying to prove the injury happened in Afghanistan.

“The navy is alleging that I had a truck accident back in 1980,” said Turney. “I was put on a respirator, I was in ICU for 17 days.”

And that’s when Turner says the navy believes the injury occurred.

If that’s true, he wonders why it wasn’t discovered during pre-deployment checkups.

“Because understand, they gave me a physical to make sure I was 100 percent before I went,” said Turney.

Armed with doctor’s notes confirming his injury happened in Afghanistan, Turney is now appealing his case.

But with a severe backlog at the VA Hospital of existing cases, the process will be slow.

“July, it will be a year,” said Turney.

It’s an optimistic outlook from a veteran who feels betrayed and baffled by his battle over benefits.

More from Tony Lopez

More From CBS Sacramento

Tickets to aftershock now on sale
Follow Us On Facebook
The Taz Show

Listen Live