Wounded hero waiting for benefits long after injury | News
WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- It only took a couple of seconds; a firefight on an Afghanistan roadway, and a sniper wounded Sgt. Nathan Watson of Woodstock.
But since his injury, and medical discharge from the U.S. Army, he has been waiting almost a year for his disability benefits.
Watson was manning a machine gun atop an armored vehicle escorting a convoy when his company was ambushed.
"We got into a firefight," he said. I got shot in the left forearm and rather than just stopping at that, I kept shooting and had to be told by my medic to get down and out of the gun, and when I got down, I switched places with my driver and drove myself to a French aid station."
For his courageous efforts in driving the vehicle despite his serious injury and escorting the convoy out of harm's way, Watson was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor, as well as the Purple Heart.
But after considerable medical treatment back in the States, he was told the nerve damage to his arm was too extensive to be repaired.
He filed a Disability Claim last July and is still waiting for his benefits.
He said he needed the money to continue his education at Kennesaw State.
"In that almost year's time, I have called the VA on multiple occasions, and I've heard every excuse," Watson said.
"It's a shame that we've got vets that have been wounded in combat that have to wait 400 days for their disability compensation," he added.
The Help Desk immediately contacted the Veterans Administration benefits branch to get Watson's benefits on the fast track.
We wanted answers and we wanted Sgt. Watson to finally get what he was entitled under VA rules.
It took just a split second for Watson to suffer a serious injury, but now almost a year later, still no disability benefits.
To the Help Desk, that was unacceptable.
After going up and down the chain of command at the VA, there is action.
The VA told the Help Desk: "Based on the information recently received, we are expediting the processing of his claim due to financial hardship."
But the VA has set no timeline for delivery of those benefits.
If the Help Desk does not get a timeline within the next five days, the matter will be taken directly to Washington.