Jones county veteran says he isn't getting deserved benefits

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - When Jerry Jefcoat left the Vietnam War back in the early seventies he never though he would have to fight yet again, this time for his health.

"There's a lot of stress in it for me and I can't do the things I use to do," said Jefcoat.

Now, for Jerry and his wife Flora, everyday is a struggle and a new fight, trying to get what they say are deserved benefits from Veterans Affairs.

"His quality of life caused from this is just practically nothing," said Flora Jefcoat.

Jerry's health began to decline back in 2001 determined to be caused by an insecticide used during the war. With numerous medical conditions and an oxygen tank, Jerry is currently at 40 percent disability, which was set by the V.A.  Due to that percentage, Jerry isn't able to get all the benefits he says he deserves.

"The co-pays on his medication is so expensive until we can't afford all of them," said Flora.

What they can afford ranges anywhere from $300 to $400 a month, having to choose the medications they feel are the most important.

Flora says her husband of 44 years is far more than 40 percent disabled and has tried to have the level increased, which would help with some of the costs.

"I don't understand it. I have sent in tons of medical reports from doctors. His doctors don't understand it and they just turn him down," said Flora.

Even with medicare, paying up to 80 percent of the medical bills, the Jefcoats say the financial burdens keep rolling in.

"When you have somebody that has to go to the doctor as much as he does and the medication he's on, it gets very expensive," said Flora.

"It goes through my mind that they just don't care anymore," said Jerry.

For Jerry, now homebound, he says he's lost hope in the V.A. system.

"It's just awful though to go to war and fight a battle and then them people do you like that. They turn their back on you, that's what it feels like anyway," said Jerry.

"If they're willing to put their life on the line and go serve their country, we should be willing to take care of them when we have caused their health to decline like his has," said Flora.

Calls to the Veterans Affairs Administration for comment were not returned.

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