Veteran still waiting to get approved for disability 24 years la - CBS46 News

Veteran still waiting to get approved for disability 24 years later

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Terria Clark joined the army right out of high school. She fought for three months in Desert Storm but her most scarring battle happened on American soil when a Sergeant called her into his office.

"I wanted to be a career soldier," said Clark. "As I was going into the office, he was behind me and the door closed and the light went off and he had me on the desk."

Clark said she couldn't get away and before she knew it he was putting his tongue down her throat and touching on her. Eventually she found a stapler gun and hit him with it. She ran away but the attack never escaped her.

When CBS46 reporter Natalie Rubino asked Clark if she had flashbacks, she responded "All the time. Smells, the cologne, the roughness of the beard."

Clark said after she reported the incident to her commander, she was handed Article 15 papers and was demoted. Months later, she left the army.

"I just didn't feel safe," said Clark.

Clark was diagnosed with PTSD and MTS in 1994. She applied for disability benefits the same year but was denied.

A spokesperson from the VA tells Natalie Rubino that in 1994 Clark was unable to prove her PTSD status was connected to her time in the military. She had a year to repeal the decision but never did. Twenty-three years later, Clark did re-apply for disability in December 2017 only to find out the VA lost the most important part of her military record.

"The assault. The Article 15, My statement. That's not there. That life is missing," said Clark.

Drew Early is a lawyer who helps veterans with VA claims. He says the VA didn't make the move to electronic records until about four years ago.

"When you're dealing with paper and there's one piece pf paper and that file is only in one location it very easily gets lost gets misplaced," said Early.

The VA would not confirm or deny if they had lost Clark's documents. Still, Clark says it shouldn't be this complicated.

"I've laid my life down. I wanted to be a career soldier. Unfortunately that was taken away from me and a change, a change has to come," said Clark.

Drew says it typically takes three and a half years for an appeal to be reviewed in Atlanta. He says right now there are 35,000 appeals going through Atlanta's regional office and only about three teams reviewing those appeals. 

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