SEA CLIFF, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The widow of an Army veteran is battling with the government over his veterans benefits.

Linda Parsons, wife of late Sea Cliff Mayor Norman Parsons, said because of a fire in 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center, her husband’s service records were lost, along with up to 18 million others.

“It makes me feel terrible because Norm was proud of his service,” Parsons told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “Everything he’s done since I met him, he’s given his all. So I know he gave his all as a private in the Army. To not get the recognition he deserves, it’s very hurtful.”

Her husband, who died in 2013, served in the Army from 1954 to 1956.

Since there is no record he ever served, Parsons can’t receive military benefits, including a break on her property taxes. Without the benefits, it will be a struggle to stay in the Sea Cliff home she shared with her husband.

“We found this wonderful house down near the water. We moved in three weeks after we were married and it will be 50 years this June,” Parsons said.

Rep. Steve Israel (D РHuntington) plans to fight to help Parsons and others receive the benefits they deserve.

He is calling on the Department of Defense to reevaluate the type of evidence that can be used to prove a person’s record of service when the official record is not available.

Israel said the process currently is random and arbitrary.

“I want one process that is based on common sense where they will, going into a claim, designate what kinds of files they will accept,” Israel told 1010 WINS. “Quite honestly, the burden of proof shouldn’t be on the veteran, the burden of proof should be on the bureaucracy. So in my view, they should accept any reasonable evidence of military service.”

“They need a new process that is consistent, that is sustained and doesn’t punish the veteran or the veteran’s family for a fire that they had nothing to do with,” Israel added.