Ninety-year-old Susana Mallinson has been waiting over a year for her husband Frank’s military service records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis.
She is among the roughly 500,000 military family members affected by the massive backlog of record requests at the NPRC, an agency of the National Archives.
Mallinson’s husband served in Japan in the U.S. Army during World War II as a radio engineer and died in 2000. She is barely making ends meet, surviving on just over $1,000 a month while waiting for her husband’s records to apply for spousal benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In the meantime, Mallinson is forced to live below the poverty line.
“It’s very stressful. At times I cannot sleep, thinking ‘why is it so hard? Something that belongs to me, something that is there,'” Mallinson said.