Bakersfield veteran calls 23ABC looking for help after a paperwork mix-up cuts benefits in half


A Bakersfield veteran's benefits have been restored after 23ABC started asking questions.

Keith Sink, 64, is a disabled Vietnam veteran who depends on his monthly benefits to survive.

So when his check came this month and it was less than half of normal, he panicked.

Sink served with the Marines in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.

He was wounded and has struggled with his health ever since.

"I was shot six times -- once in the neck four times in this leg and then once in the arm," Sink said.

A few years ago, he moved in with his older sister so she could take care of him.

"I wanted to take care of him because he can’t live alone anymore and so we have been managing as long as he gets his money and I get mine," said Jennifer Jenkins, Sink’s sister.

Sink's monthly VA check is what paid the rent and most of the bills, but this month his $2,700 payment was only $1,100.

"I almost had a heart attack. I almost had to go back in the hospital. I couldn't figure out what was going on because they gave us no warning," Sink said.

When November’s check came, they didn’t even have enough money to pay rent. Then they got an eviction notice and the house was put up for sale.

The problem was a key piece of paperwork the VA said it didn't receive even though Sink sent it in three months ago.

 Jenkins says she was told the Veteran’s Affairs office in Los Angeles is very understaffed.

"They told me they don’t have enough people in L.A. to process all the paperwork that comes in," Jenkins said.

We called the VA in Los Angeles and they admit they are very behind on processing and severely understaffed.

A few hours after 23ABC called, the VA called back to say Sink's benefits would be restored.  They say Sink should see the money in his account in a week to 10 days.

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