It’s a veteran disability case that never ends.
In 1985, Ivan Figueroa Clausell filed a claim for a variety of conditions he said stemmed from a car accident while training with the Puerto Rico Army National Guard. The Department of Veterans Affairs ruled that he wasn’t disabled.
He appealed and lost. He appealed again and lost again, and again and again.
In all, the VA has issued more than two dozen rulings on his case over the years. Still, he continues to appeal. Even after he won and started receiving 100% disability pay, he pressed on in hopes of receiving retroactive payments.
“I’m never going to give up,” said the 66-year-old Vietnam veteran. “I don’t care how long it takes.”
Figueroa’s is the oldest case among the more than 425,000 now swamping a veterans appeals system that advocates and government officials say is badly broken.