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  • Writer's picturePanhandle Warrior Partnership

Support for Panhandle Veteran During Grueling Disability Process

For many veterans, one of the most important parts of post-military life is having someone there to push you forward when times get difficult. This was the case for military veteran Joel Heier*, who contacted Panhandle Warrior Partnership, frustrated with his disability rating process.

Joel, unfortunately, lost his job four years prior but did not apply for unemployment assistance in the allowed timeframe. Mr. Heier has had many health complications over the years that resulted in his leg needing to be amputated. All of his treatments and surgeries for his legs were done through the VA, where he was given a 70% disability rating. Joel told PWP Case Coordinator Kenneth Thompson that he had done well for himself by saving money in the past, but his finances had worsened, and he needed more support. Case Coordinator Thompson gathered Joel's resources and contacted his local VA via a three-way call. The VA employee stated that there was some misinformation on Joel’s file, causing him to have a lower disability rating. The employee apologized and stated that she would record the accurate data and put Mr. Heier in contact with the proper people to get this issue resolved.

After much waiting and back and forth, Mr. Heier was notified that he was denied for his increase. Frustrated and upset, he expressed to Case Coordinator Thompson that he wanted to give up on the whole process. Mr. Thompson convinced Joel to apply again and referred him to a local VFW Post Master to restart the benefits rating application process. After some time, Kenneth reached out to check on Joel. Joel was excited to inform Mr. Thompson that he had been accepted for an 80% disability rating and is confident it will soon reach 100%. Mr. Heier thanked Case Coordinator Thompson for his persistence and unwavering support in pushing him through this painstaking process.

*Name has been changed in this story to protect the individual's identity.


The Panhandle is stronger when our veterans are stronger. Connect with PWP to learn more about how you can give back to the Panhandle veteran community by visiting our website and completing an online form:

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