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      Veterans speak out at heated VA town hall

      The Little Rock Department of Veteran Affairs Regional office held a town hall meeting to talk to veterans and hear feedback on the care veterans receive at VA hospitals and its response to benefits claims. {} "Why is it that Vietnam veterans have a hard time getting our money when we served our country, alright? That's what I want to know," a veteran said at the meeting Monday to applause from the crowded room. Veterans like Danny Carter came to have their voices heard. "Why am I still filing and filing and refilling for the same injuries and disabilities," he said. "If they'd done it right the first time, I wouldn't be back the second time. I think it's a shame a veteran has to file multiple claims on the same issue and injuries in the service is just unjust," Carter said. The National VA has been rocked by scandal recently, when it was revealed the Phoenix regional office in Arizona covered up long wait times for care. The wait times in Little Rock have remained low. As of Wednesday, 91 percent of appointments were scheduled in 30 days or less. But veterans across the country and in Arkansas have complained of slow response times to benefits claims. "I'm running out of time and guess that's what the VA wants is for me to die and not pay me my benefits," Carter said. The Little Rock VA says they've reduced backlog, which they classify as claims older than 125 days. Claims at their peak were at 611,000 in March of 2013 and were reduced to 267,000 claims as of this week. Veterans like Denise White says she hopes the message Monday was heard loud and clear. "We did a lot overseas and now it's time for them to put up or shut up," White said.{}