Local veteran speaks out after cut off from disability benefits - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Local veteran speaks out after cut off from disability benefits

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CLAYTON, OK -- Following the recent Veterans Affair scandal that made national headlines, one local veteran is speaking out after his benefits were cut off for reasons he says he can't figure out. 

"Without vets, there would be no USA," said Thomas Baxter, a disabled veteran. 

Baxter says his desire to be a marine started when a recruiter came to his high school. 

"I asked my dad to sign permission for me to be in," he said. "Well dad didn't want to, but he did." 

Before enlisting, he was in car accident leaving him with a bone fusion in his back. His doctor cleared him for physical activity. He warned recruiters of his previous injury and still has the documentation he says proves it. 

"I passed my physical," he said, "I passed all of my written tests and i was sent to San Diego." 

While in service, Baxter aggravated his back injury and after doctors ruled him unfit for service, due to injury aggravation, not a new injury, he was released with an honorable discharge. 

"I fall a lot, more and more," he said. "Everytime i fall, everytime I get injured. My son, sitting here knows what the problem has been. So do the doctors, the VA doctors." 

Shortly after his disreceivedBaxter recieved a letter saying his benefits were cut off. The VA claimed they needed to re-evaluate his injury and whether it was aggravated. But Baxter says documents he still has prove the VA acknowledged his injury as aggravated. And approved his disability from honorable discharge. 

"It's just been never ending," Tommy Baxter said, Baxter's son. "It stresses my dad, my dad's got bad health and him and all these other vets that are suffering from health probtheirthat served thier country who were honorably discharged now have to beg on bended knee for what was supposedly going to be given to them and now are being denyed." 

Baxter and his son, who also served, have been fighting for his lost benefits for 50 years. But say the VA continues to send different letter denying his claims.  

"They claim he never swore into the United States Marine Corps," Tommy said, "but he has an honorable discharge and a DD214."

KTEN spoke with a representative for the Oklahoma Disabled Veteran Affairs office and they say while they have no comment concerning Thomas Baxter's claims, the DAV hastheir fulfilling thier promise to all the men and women who have served for more than 92 years.