How can this veteran be in two places at once and why it's a bad thing
You Ask. We Investigate.
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Many of us have often wanted to be in two places at once, but for one Valley man that assumed capability is landing him in trouble. He contacted Action News wondering how to get his benefits back from a V.A. that thinks he's serving time behind bars.
What we found is a very frustrating situation. A man who's fought to get his benefits for years finally turned to Action News as his last hope for resolution.
"Something stinks," says veteran Robert Bantleon who has no real home.
"I've been just living on the streets mostly. I got this, what I have now, from U.S. Vets. Clothes that were donated."
Part of his struggles he claims comes from absence of his Veteran Affairs benefits pension ever since 2009. At first V.A. officials told him the address he used at a friends local business was unverifiable. Then two months ago he got a letter stating his benefits were about to get cut because he is serving time in a Phoenix prison. But there's a problem.
"I've never even been to Phoenix, let alone be arrested there," says Bantleon.
Robert admits to having served time in California for 15 months, but then moved straight to Las Vegas after getting out.
"I was at the Cornell halfway house over here on Main street," says Bantleon.
And Robert says he's tried telling the V.A. he has never and is not currently behind bars.
"They looked me up on their computer and they said to me, we can't talk to you. You're in prison.
I go, I'm standing right here! They go, we can't talk to you. You're in prison. That's what our computer says. We cant' talk to you."
We did our own search for Robert by going to Arizona Department of Corrections website. By going in and typing in his last name, first initial, and making sure we're looking for anyone active, that search found nothing.
Action News also called the Arizona Department of Corrections, and they confirm there are no records for Robert in their system.
"I've got tons of documentation. No one wants to listen," says Bantleon.
He did get some money from the V.A. after years of trying to work this out.
"A V.A. compensation check for $6," he exclaims incredulously.
Hoping to get answers, Robert can't help but wonder if his country has abandoned him or if he's just fallen in the cracks of bureaucratic system.
We called the V.A. and they tell us while they can't comment on Robert's case because of privacy reasons, they're now looking into it. We will update you on the outcome of this story.
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