Martin C. Evans

Vet gets overdue $$$ from WWII hearing loss

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2010 at 7:09 pm

It has been a long time coming, but a WWII vet will be getting a fat check for injuries he suffered a lifetime ago.

Vincent Busciolano, 88, of Greenlawn, will receive $89,349 in back payments related to injuries to his ears he suffered serving in the Navy in 1944 and 1945, thanks to the intervention of a member of Congress.

Busciolano first realized he was losing his hearing while serving near aircraft in the Solomon Islands as part of a Special Task Group. He has suffered profound hearing loss ever since.

“I went to the dispensary and they forced warm water into my ears,” he said. “But nothing worked.”

He first sought compensation for a service-connected disability in 1946, one year after the war ended. But his application was rejected then, and later inquiries were similarly rebuffed.

He came home, found various jobs, and got on with his life. “My wife told me to forget about it,” he said.

Delayed benefits has for years been a problem for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2008, Newsday reported that the VA’s New York regional office was the second-slowest in the nation at processing claims, and that workers there were faking data to make it appear claims were being processed on time.

Last September, an inspector general’s audit of VA regional offices found that “inefficient (VA) workload management” caused 12,000 veterans’ benefits claims to be delayed an average of nearly 15 months.

And just last week, the CBS News magazine “60 Minutes” reported that as many as one in four benefits case files managed by the VA included errors.

Busciolano’s trip through the bureaucratic hall of mirrors finally ended when a neighbor told him that constituent services workers associated with members of Congress are sometimes good at cutting red tape. Busciolano got in touch with an aide in the office of Rep. Steve Israel.

It worked.

Israel presented Busciolano the $89,349 check this morning, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1469, in Huntington.

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  1. Thank goodness for the aide in Rep. Israel’s office. Thank you Rep. Israel, and God bless Mr. Busciolano. Thank you for your service to our country during WWII.

    Cathleen Prout

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