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Paralyzed soldier denied claim for veterans' benefits

Those who serve in the armed forces here in Florida and elsewhere deserve the gratitude of every citizen. When they are unable to care for themselves, veterans' benefits can ease the financial burden of having to pay for their own care. These benefits have to be handled carefully, however, as they can impact a person's estate plan and what they leave behind for their loved ones. One retired soldier is grappling with that exact issue after her claim for veterans' benefits was denied.

The woman was serving in another state when she started experiencing symptoms such as headaches and blurred vision. An MRI revealed she had a deformity that caused her skull to push down on her cerebellum and, in turn, her spinal column. Her family says that the surgery to fix it resulted in dislocation of her neck, a stroke and partial paralysis. Because she was treated at military hospital, she cannot file a medical malpractice claim, which is what she could have done if she was a civilian.

She and her family attempted to file a claim to the Veterans' Affairs Caregiver program, hoping that it would approve funding for a family member to provide the woman with full time care. Her claim was denied and now her hope hinges on a the passage of a law in the National Defense Authorization bill. The law would allow veteran victims to sue the United States for medical malpractice.

However this particular soldier's story turns out, it shows just how important veterans' benefits can be to a family. The denial of a claim can have devastating consequences and an appeal should not be treated lightly. An attorney here in Florida who understands these types of benefits and their impact on an overall estate plan may be the best person to turn to in such an important matter.

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