Willie McCall, 85, suffers from debilitating, combat-related health issues and was essentially forgotten by the federal government. Before totally giving up on his VA benefits, McCall’s nephew, Freddie Porterfield, contacted the 12 News Defenders.
McCall says during his time as a rifleman during the Korean conflict, the weather was so cold it left him with frostbite, jungle rot and circulation issues. He walks with a cane and has special orthotic shoes.
Despite multiple diagnoses, he was denied VA benefits. His denials go back to the late ’50s.
Recent documents show the VA sent McCall to a doctor to assess his condition before the latest hearing. Despite the doctor’s written order confirming the combat wounds, the VA didn’t consider that document and denied benefits again.
WSFA 12 News took the problem to the Central Alabama VA. Several weeks of calls, forms, and multiple emails later, the VA granted McCall’s benefits. The VA also gave the veteran more than $100,000 in back pay.
The good news doesn’t end there. The VA set up more appointments for potential compensation for health claims.
WSFA 12 News received a statement Wednesday afternoon from the director of the VA regional office confirming McCall’s benefits had been granted due to the diagnosis that wasn’t considered during McCall’s latest hearing.
Had the decision not been reversed, McCall was set to wait on an appeal for another year and a half.