The Daily Item
By Rick Dandes and Justin Strawser
6 hrs ago
SUNBURY — Terminally ill and facing eviction, a Vietnam veteran and his wife are fighting the Veteran’s Administration for full disability benefits that would help them stay in their Sunbury home.
Dennis and Donda O’Brien this week sat quietly in their Edison Street home, a rental, wondering how long they’ll be able to stay.Robert Inglis The Daily Item
Dennis and Donda O'Brien of Sudbury talk about the prospect of losing their housing because of financial difficulties.
“We need more money for rent, and utilities,” said Donda, his wife of three years. “Fighting the government costs a lot of money. We’ve been going in circles, repeating the application processes, writing letters to the V.A., to our congressmen, to presidents Obama and Trump.”
There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014. The number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2014 was 3.8 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Trauma trickles down
The frustration shows on Dennis’s face. At 61, he said he has cancer of the throat, is terminally ill in the last stages of emphysema, and has a heart condition, broken neck and broken back. He has vertigo, headaches, and has trouble focusing his attention — all resulting, he believes from the head trauma originally suffered more than 40 years ago. An injury, O’Brien is convinced, the Veterans Administration has never fully addressed.
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