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Atlantic Blog Post Earns Homeless Veteran $1 Million

SafeGround tent city residents Charles and Elizabeth Zimmerman had nothing but broken hearts. After both suffered heart attacks, Charles, a 22-year military veteran, and Elizabeth, as his dependent, should have access to care through the VA system. But due to a long battle trying to correct a paperwork snafu, the Zimmermans have been unable to collect Charles’ pension or access VA services.

The Atlantic‘s Christina Davidson was able to change that. After chronicling the couple’s heartache, Davidson shared some good news on her Atlantic blog – a testament to the power of journalism:

“Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) apparently read my piece about the Zimmermans and contacted Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), who sits on the Committee on Veterans Affairs. As a result of their efforts, Charles Zimmerman had a mind-blowing meeting with a VA official…Charles called me as soon as the meeting had ended to tell me that the VA had apologized for delaying resolution of his case for so long. He said they told him he would start receiving full benefits within a matter of weeks, including an initial check that would cover backpay for the past 18 years since his retirement.”

“Are you sitting down?” Charles asks. “Yes,” I say. “They say they’ll be sending me a check for $972,000.”

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