Some concerned over backlog of cases at Winston-Salem VA office

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — David Barham can tell you story after story about his time serving in Germany during the Vietnam War. 

Barham left his McLeansville home for Germany in 1964.

“I remember flying over there thinking and praying we all made it back safely,” Barham said.

Barham made it back to North Carolina in 1967, but says he returned with his share of problems. Barham says he’s dealing with the effects of Agent Orange.

“I was sprayed with so many chemicals while I was over there. It’s scary when you think about it,” Barham said.

Barham is also dealing with what he believes is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

However, Barham says the Veteran Affairs office won’t help him.

“I saw a psychiatrist in 2010 at the VA office in Winston-Salem and they told me I was perfectly fine,” Vargam said.

Barham says his claim to receive benefits was delayed.  A year later, he turned to another doctor who diagnosed him with a mental health disorder.  But still, he says he has not received any help. 

At the Veteran Affairs office in Winston-Salem, there are about 35,000 claims waiting to processed.

Meagan Miller, who works at the Winston-Salem office, says the needs of veterans has surpassed the department’s ability to meet them.

“Although we have been able to produce a record number of claims,” Miller said.

An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General showed files stacked two feet high in some places at the office.

“We are in the process of implementing a new strategy that will streamline this process,” Miller said.

In the meantime, Barham is getting counseling at the Greensboro Vet Center.

His claim is still being investigated.

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