Widows of veterans say they must wait months to receive benefits

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In May of last year, Navy veteran Shannon Stitler told us how the Houston VA Hospital kept him waiting for months.

“I feel that they have let the veterans down,” Stitler said in 2014.

One of those let down veterans was Stitler’s own father in law Marion Frein. Last year he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“When I first called up they were just putting me off,” Frein told us in 2014.

Stitler, who was suffering from PTSD, committed suicide on October 15th.

“The day that he committed suicide that it was reported that he was dead his retirement stopped instantly,” said Stitler’s widow Kristie Perry. “His disability stopped just as fast.”

On Veteran’s Day, Stitler’s father-in-law died of cancer.

“Just a few weeks after Shannon died,” said Frein’s widow Danette Frein.

This mother and daughter share more than just grief. They are looking at a 4 to 6 month period before they start receiving benefits their veteran husbands are entitled to.

After collecting mounds of documents the VA already has, Kristie Perry was told this.

“The claim got lost,” Perry said.

Meanwhile, her mother says she’s being told by the VA she has to provide documents that she knows nothing about.

“I’m supposed to provide things like divorce decrees from my husband’s marriages before me,” Frein said. “I don’t know those women. I don’t know who those women are.”

We contacted a spokesperson with the VA to find out the usual wait time before widows of veterans start receiving benefits.

So far we’ve heard nothing back.

We will of course keep you updated on these two widows.