By Corrina Pysa
Posted: Aug 13, 2013
Larry Richardson's daughter, Tammy Legates, holds a letter of denial of benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (Photo: WBOC)
SALISBURY, Md.- For more than two months, a Wicomico County veteran has been in the hospital. Larry Richardson suffered a stroke in early June. Since then, his health has taken a turn for the worse. Richardson is now at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, and paying for all of his medical bills is a struggle.
Richardson was in the Army, and served in the Vietnam War. His daughter, Tammy Legates, said the least the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can do is to pay him back is step up in his time of need.
WBOC reached out to the VA for comment, and was told by a spokesperson that due to patient privacy regulations, the organization could not speak specifically to Richardson's case.
However, per R. David Edwards, chief of public and community relations with VA Maryland Health Care System, "Non-VA care is provided to eligible and enrolled veterans in the community when VA facilities are not available. Care for Veterans in the community is provided through the Non-VA Care program."
According to the VA, "The use of the Non-VA Care program is governed by federal laws that contain eligibility criteria and policies specifying when and why it can be used. A pre-authorization from the VA is required for the treatment of any veteran in the community through the Non-VA Care program."
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The Veterans Pension is a needs-based benefit paid to wartime Veterans who meet certain age or non-service connected disability requirements.
General Program Requirements
Veterans may be eligible if he/she:
was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time*, AND
is age 65 or older, OR
is permanently and totally disabled (not due to own personal misconduct), OR
is a patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
is receiving Social Security disability benefits, AND
has countable family income that is below the amount set by Congress (unreimbursed medical expenses may reduce countable income), AND net worth is not excessive.
*Generally, if you enlisted after September 7, 1980, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. You need not have served 24 months if you have a service connected disability, were released under and early out or were given a hardship discharge.
Wartime Service Requirements
World War I
04/06/1917 to 07/01/1921
12/07/1941 to 12/31/1946
06/27/1950 to 01/31/1955
02/28/1961 to 05/07/1975
*Between 02/28/1961 to 08/04/1964 had to have served in country Vietnam Gulf War
08/02/1990 through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law