WWII Veteran speaks out: "I feel betrayed" - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

WWII Veteran speaks out: "I feel betrayed"

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- As those who fought bravely during World War II are getting older -- many are seeking Veteran's Affair benefits -- requiring lots of paperwork. Tonight, Rachel Salyer spoke with a veteran who says he paid to file paperwork that should have been free.

"I feel betrayed." 

Those are the words of World War II Veteran Eugene Brown. Brown and his wife need additional money to pay the $4,500 rate for assisted living.  

"Our total income is not up to that," Brown said. 

After serving our country proud for more than twenty years, he decided to apply for financial assistance as part of his veteran's benefits. After dialing the number on a flier, Brown said V.A. volunteer Don Stockard and attorney John Vermillion came to his home.  

"And he said my fee is $4,000 dollars just like that," Brown said. "And everybody kind of had a look of astonishment." 

Brown wrote the check and it was cashed in December. When months went by without receiving his benefits -- Brown found out he had more than just sticker shock.  

"Technically, it's illegal to charge a veteran to file claims," said Jimmy Petty, an officer with Grayson County Veterans Service. "However, it's not illegal to charge a veteran lawyer fees. So, due to that technicality, he ended up paying about $4,000 probably for some services he could have gotten for free through my office." 

We reached out to attorney John Vermillion who was straight forward about his bill for services to veteran Brown.  

"We were retained to prepare a plan and to prepare a V.A. application for him and his wife," Vermillion said.

He did reach out to the Grayson County Veterans Affair Center, where he got a service officer who said he's working on a claim now, but that person told us that it is illegal to charge veterans to do V.A. paper work.

"Well we also did other estate planning paperwork and as an attorney that is appropriate."

We asked Brown if he asked for those services; a last will and testament as well as powers of attorney. Brown said "No, no. He had to show why he was getting the (money.) He had to do something."  

Brown has accepted that he won't ever see that money again, and instead says he is devoted to making sure other veterans don't fall into a similar situation -- and may not have the same resources he does.

"I'm more disappointed than angry, because we'll make out, there's no question about that." 

If you would like to get help from the Grayson County Veterans Services Office -- you can call them Monday through Friday at 903-813-4254.