ST. LOUIS – “I depend solely on my disability payments from the VA every month. It puts a roof over our heads, clothes on my son’s back and food in his stomach.”
Kerri Simmons, a disabled veteran and single mother, wrote in about how a prolonged shutdown and subsequent VA benefit cut would impact her and her son.
For a little background, Kerri has been fighting for benefits from VA for years and is an out of work veteran due to her disabilities. I am familiar with her story as a result of her seeking guidance on our forum: Disabled Veterans – Chapter 31 Voc Rehab.
First, her quest was for disability and rehab benefits. Later, some of her teeth started to rot out like many other veterans of the current wars. When she tried to get dental care, she was initially denied. Finally, when VA relented, rather than merely fix the few rotten teeth, VA said it would only pay to pull out all of her teeth. Kerri would then be required to wear dentures.
Kerri is 36. She refused the procedure, and a civilian dentist even refused citing to do the procedure would be malpractice. Kerri is still fighting that fight. Now, this VA shutdown will put her at an even greater disadvantage. Her email below explains this new hardship.
I have started publishing stories like Kerri’s with the hope that the press will spread the word about how our Nation’s heroes will be impacted.
My hope is that stories like these will shame our incompetent Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, and President into bipartisan action.
I asked if Kerri would be willing to share her story with the world under the condition of anonymity. She said not only said yes, but that I could use her full name.
Veterans should not be ashamed of how our trust in the system will now harm us, and Kerri is a great example for other veterans who want to step forward with their story.
Let’s hope Kerri’s story and those like it will help influence leaders to change direction. Here is her recent email about how a VA shutdown and stop in benefits pay would impact her:
I am a 100% permanent and totally disabled Iraqi Freedom veteran, also a single mother of an amazing 11-year-old boy. I recently moved to a new state to make like better for my son and I. Needless to say moving is quiet an expense and have used my entire savings to move.
I depend solely on my disability payments from the VA every month. It puts a roof over our heads, clothes on my son’s back and food in his stomach.
I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if I didn’t get paid. I have no family at all (was a foster child) and not a single friend here in my new hometown.
I signed on the dotted line and put my life on the line for this country. My country made a promise to me and I expect them to keep it. If I broke my promise to my country I would have been seriously punished.
Now are you going to let this happen to us? My son and I depend on my disability pay. It was promised to me. If this happens, can you still call this the greatest country on earth?
Please I beg of you guys to get your act together and get this settled. I am only 1 out of millions.