Returning Soldier Claims SC Denied Benefits - WSPA.com

Returning Soldier Claims SC Denied Benefits

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An Upstate soldier says South Carolina left him uninsured because he went to Afghanistan to fight. An Upstate soldier says South Carolina left him uninsured because he went to Afghanistan to fight.
SPARTANBURG, S.C -

An American soldier and South Carolina Department of Corrections employee said when he went to war the state put him in danger at home.

Aldous Copeland works as a guard at the medium security Tyger River prison. He started working there in 2008.

In 2011, Copeland’s national guard unit, the 228th Signal Battalion was deployed to Afghanistan.

After serving a 14 month tour, Copeland returned to work and that’s when he said his employer let him down.

“I went to fight a war in another country for our country and I shouldn't have had to come back and fight another war for my benefits," Copeland said.

Copeland said he went to a doctor for a routine checkup only to learn that his state insurance was ccanceled His attorney, John Reckenbeil said the state pulled the benefits because Copeland wasn’t returning his mail from a wwar zone

Copeland said that delay in benefits caused him to miss regular appointments and screenings that may have diagnosed what later became colon cancer.

He’s suing the state for damages.

“How do you let a returning service member go without insurance for over 2 years?" Reckenbeil asked.

“When I found out I wasn't covered I couldn't afford to pay it out of my pocket it was too high," Copeland said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections released this statement :

“Many of our employees have served or are serving in the armed forces and we work to thoroughly provide them with the support and assistance they need. We offered to retroactively reinstate Mr. Copeland’s benefits and he declined. The Department of Corrections is following all federal and state laws and will continue to do so. “

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