Injured Vets Struggle to Get Disability Help

It has been one year since we met so many injured veterans and got to know their families.  Today, it is heartening to see they are all still recovering and making strides — both large and small.  

But in addition to attending rehab and doctors' visits, some of these veterans are digging through paperwork and trying to fight for larger disability payments. 

'I Feel Way Lucky'

ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff first met Army Sgt. Will Glass and his wife, Amelia, at the Bethesda Naval Hospital a year and a half ago.

Glass had been in a coma for two weeks and part of his skull had been removed.  His hands were crushed and his left eye was gone.

But today in northern California, there is some normalcy returning to the Glasses' lives.

Glass has a new glass eye that moves almost like his right eye.  Although one of his fingers was lost, his grip is improving and he is even taking auto repair courses.

His confidence is up and he says people "don't stare anymore.  It's just like I'm a normal person to them."

The military has not yet determined Glass' disability or his future payments. 

Glass recently received military photographs from the bloody scene of the roadside attack that injured him. "I feel way lucky," Glass said, looking at the photograph.

"Some people would look at that and can't imagine that you would consider yourself lucky," Woodruff said. 

"Yeah, but I am happy to be alive," Glass said.

Glass now can perform daily tasks like dressing himself and feeding himself, giving his wife, she says, "a chance to get my life back."

When Woodruff asked what advice they would give other couples, the Glasses agreed. 

"Time heals all wounds," Amelia said.

"You just got to be a champ and just tough it out. I got injured in September 2006 and it's now 2008 and I am still going through it, and it just takes time and effort," Glass said.

'Slowly but Surely'

A year ago, Marine Sgt. Shurvon Philip of Cleveland could not speak and could hardly move.

Today, there are still no words, but his mother and brother can understand his yes and no responses by the movement of his eyelids.  

"He's getting there," Philip's mother, Gail Ulerie, told Woodruff.  "Slowly but surely, you know.  It's a long process, but my baby is making it."

Philip's recovery has been slight. He has gained about 20 pounds and he can be raised to a sitting position.

"He can't sit up by himself, he can't do that by himself … yet!"  Ulerie said.  "I'm not giving up hope."

The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs doctors have ruled that he has 100 percent disability and he will be supported for the rest of his life.

'It Doesn't Make Sense to Me'

A year and a half ago, Michael Boothby could not walk.

But in the fall, we saw him run.   This month we watched him jump on a trampoline with his three daughters at his home in Center Point, Texas.

"A year ago I couldn't pick them up at all," Boothby said.  "In the last six months, I'd say I've improved a little bit, but not that much."

Just this month, the Boothbys received the Department of Defense ruling that he has a 70 percent temporary disability.  The family of five — with one more on the way in March — will have to make due on 70 percent of their previous income.   

Boothby's temporary disability rating will be reevaluated annually, despite the fact that many of his injuries are permanent.  He has traumatic brain injury and has lost more than half of his vision in both eyes. 

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