KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Steve Fischer survived three roadside bombs in Iraq.
“It separated the entire truck in half. Luckily, everyone survived but we were all knocked unconscious and medevaced to Fallujah medical," he said.
This fall, Fischer was awarded a Purple Heart for his service.
Fischer says his life changed after that blast, and he’s been in a constant battle with the VA for benefits since 2007. This is the year he hopes things finally get straightened out.
“I'm somebody that appears to be okay. You know I don't have, obviously I have my limbs, and that you know I'm very thankful for that. You can't see, you know, major depression or PTSD, anxiety issues that are just constant," he said.
Problems became so bad that Fischer quit working.
“I saw no difference than me forcing myself to go to work and slowly killing myself over a slow period of time," he said.
Fischer used the military’s new “Rapid Appeals Program” to finally get his benefits straight. He thought problems were resolved, but they aren’t.
“It all sounded like it was done. You are at a 100% now. You are approved, but we are giving you one year back pay so they went back to October of 2017 instead of sept of 2007 significant difference in back pay,” Fischer said.
Fischer is appealing again but this time he has hired a lawyer because navigating the VA for benefits has been such a mess.
“It’s very frustrating. I can relate to other veterans going through this,” Fischer said.
The VA has acknowledged a significant backlog when it comes to processing veteran’s benefits.
The number of claims peeked at more than 600,000 claims earlier in the decade.
The VA has made progress with the overall number but several local veterans describe a tough process of getting all of the benefits they deserve.