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Veterans Fighting Battle for Benefits

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FORT BRAGG — They served their country. Now they saythey really need their government's help. More and more veterans arehaving a hard time getting the benefits they say they deserve.

Many older veterans say that when they joined the military years ago toserve for 20 or 30 years, they got an agreement from the government thatthey and their families would be covered for medical care until theirdeaths. Over the years, they say there has been nodirectcut,but that military cutbacks are affecting their health care.

Retired Army Sgt. Roland Narducci says he feels he has been placed onsecond-class status, and more and more veterans say they feel that way asthey age and as Congress votes to cut back military expenses.

Retired Sfc William Butler says vets' medical benefits have begun toshrivel.

Part of the problem is caused by the closing of some military bases inan effort to cut taxes and the federal deficit. There are fewerdoctors to provide care than there once were. That leaves many veterans,such as Narducci, feeling like they are not getting what they werepromised years ago.

Veterans' Administration hospitals do help veterans, but only if thevets meet certain requirements.

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