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At House Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing, Department of VA Official Refuses to Confirm Special Ops Vietnam Veteran Has Even Served in Military

June 15, 2016
Press Release
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Case Was Previously Denied Improperly by VA; Rep. Zeldin Calls on Secretary McDonald to Apologize for VA Official's Remarks at Hearing Regarding John Mitchell’s Military Service and to Publicly Thank This Vietnam Veteran for His Service

Washington, DC – During a House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee hearing today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, questioned Ms. Beth McCoy, Deputy Undersecretary for Field Operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), regarding the Department’s handling of a NY-1 constituent’s application with the VA for Aid and Attendance.

Congressman Zeldin’s constituent, John Mitchell, served in the Army for over 20 years, including over 16 years in Special Operations. Mr. Mitchell was injured during service after suffering multiple concussions as a result of circumstances such as an accident during a jump as a paratrooper and a severe automobile accident in a military vehicle. As a result of these incidents, Mr. Mitchell now suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Mr. Mitchell, who is 100% service connected disabled, applied for special monthly compensation, which is VA compensation that is given to veterans suffering from TBI. Even though information was provided to the VA from Mr. Mitchell’s physician, the VA had not considered this information while making their determination to deny him additional benefits. The VA stated that Mr. Mitchell is not entitled to these services because his injuries are “disabilities that have not been determined to be related to his military service.” 

During the hearing, entitled “Investigating VA’s Management of Veterans’ Paper Records”, Congressman Zeldin questioned Ms. McCoy about the handling of Mr. Mitchell’s case and Ms. McCoy confirmed that she was aware of the issue. Shockingly, Ms. McCoy wasn’t even willing to acknowledge that Mr. Mitchell, a Vietnam Veteran of the United States Military, had even served in uniform. You can watch the video here. As a result, Congressman Zeldin called on VA Secretary Robert McDonald to publically apologize for today’s Subcommittee remarks of a top VA executive and publicly thank this Vietnam Veteran for his service to our country.

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