Ex-Arizona police officer shot while on duty finally gets benefits approved
EAGAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — It’s the news Jason Casillas thought would never come. The former Arizona police sergeant just learned that his application for lifetime disability benefits was finally approved after seven months. “His first reaction was, of course, tears of joy and relief,” said Valerie Casillas, Jason’s wife. “We were just so relieved this is finally approved and over because it was such a struggle.”
Back in July, Jason and Valerie Casillas sat down with Arizona’s Family to talk about their frustration with the small town of Eager, where Jason had protected the public for 13 years after serving with the Gilbert Police Department. Jason almost lost his life in the line of duty when he was shot in the head during an ambush eight years ago.
Miraculously, he returned to work, but this past February, he applied for medical disability retirement because of his ongoing health issues and PTSD. His request was never approved. One day after Arizona’s Family story aired, the Casillas were contacted by the town of Eagar and told their application would be reevaluated.
The couple’s attorney, Lando Voyles, got word on Monday that Jason Casillas’ request for lifetime disability benefits had been approved. He’s convinced the Arizona’s Family news story put pressure on the town of Eager to do the right thing.
“My belief is, but for you bringing this to light, CBS 5 and 3TV airing this, he would not get benefits at this point. It would still be months, if ever, that he would ever get it,” said Voyles.
“It means the world to us because he has been suffering with PTSD, and for someone to acknowledge that it’s permanent to give him medical benefits is very relieving,” said Valerie Casillas. “I hope it makes other first responders realize the critical incidents they go through and be acknowledged.”
The town manager attributed the delays to bad timing and the fact the town of Eagar’s police Department was dissolving around the time Jason Casillas applied for medical retirement benefits.
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