Disabled vet denied social security

Source: WGCL

A Cherokee County family is at risk of losing their home and living on the streets. The sole provider, a Marine, was injured at his civilian job four years ago.

Joshua Lear has always been a fighter. In 1991, he enlisted in the Marines and he was deployed to Somali where a humanitarian mission quickly turned into months of combat.

"First marine division directly inserted into Somali as they were going up the beach for invasion," said Lear.

Lear left the military in 94. He was diagnosed with PTSD but with his Marine mentality he never used it as an excuse.

"You just push though. you do the best you can and you keep working," said Lear. "I got to the top of my field by not laying in bed."

Lear was head mechanic of North America and the Caribbean for a company that responds to rock and landslides. He made 150,000 a year and he and his wife comfortably raised their two children.

But in 2014 everything changed. A the large truck he was driving to a job site malfunctioned.

"I remember it sliding and then it started to tip and I remember saying 'don't let me die,'" said Lear.

Lear was released from the hospital with an injured shoulder. But something just wasn't right.

"I kept falling down. I would just lean too far and i would fall. I would go to get on a machine grab the railing and miss it," said Lear.

This pile of paper work shows Lear's diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. It was a battle the former Marine couldn't win. He was fired from his job. Doctors won't let Lear drive and have mandated he have an attendant for 16 hours a day. It's a job his wife Renee selflessly took on.

His worker's comp ended in 2016. The Lears say they have tried everything to stay a float.

"About 600,000 in lost wages, we've spent hundreds of thousands of our own money and assets and retirement."

They even sold a motorcycle and two trucks. The family applied for social security twice in the last year and a half and was denied both times.

"They say that even though i cant do my old job there's got to be something I can do."

But the doctors disagree.

"He actually has begged the doctor please just let me go back to work."

The Lears welcomed their first grandchild last year. a time supposed to be full of happiness is clouded by stress and fear. Their home is in foreclosure and social security isn't expected to re-visit their claim for at least a year and a half.

The former Marine says right now he feels betrayed by the government he risked his life for.

"I fought for this country, i paid into the system and this system kicked me in the teeth," said Lear.

CBS46 reached out to Social Security asking why Lear was denied disability. A spokesperson told us because of privacy concerns she couldn't give me specific details. But just hours after we touched base with the department, the Lear family got a call from a Social Security representative assuring them that their case will be given priority and that they wont let the family lose their home before a judge has the time to re-view their appeal.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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