The Norman Transcript

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May 8, 2013

Cold weather results in lower number of veterans’ claims

NORMAN — We recognize a volunteer each week who makes a difference in the lives of fellow veterans or surviving spouses’ lives. This week’s honoree is Gordon Wheeler of Choctaw, who has been with us for more than eight years.

Gordon is married to Bonnie, a member of the Ladies VFW Auxiliary. Gordon also is active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

We have an aluminum wheel chair ramp with hand rails that a veteran or surviving spouse could use. Contact me at 550-8806 if you know someone who needs this.

The cold, wet weather we have been having has lowered the number of veterans and surviving spouses who are making the trip to the Goldsby Community Center for help with their VA claims and questions.

Last week, only 95 men and women needed assistance from volunteers. Of that number, Shirley and her ladies assisted 12 recent widows with their claims for DIC or Pension benefits from the VA.

All of the claims for surviving spouses are handled by the VA Pension Benefits Center in St. Paul, Minn. It usually takes from four months to a year for these claims to be processed by that office. If you are a surviving spouse and need assistance from the benevolence fund while your claim is being processed, stop by for a visit with Shirley.

Fourteen veterans filed their first claims for benefits last week. These veterans were male and female and ranged in age from 22 to 80. Most every veteran will be eligible to receive some type of benefits from the VA when they take the time to visit us on a Thursday.

Five veterans received ratings of 100 percent for their service-connected disabilities. Those with this rating also will be eligible for Oklahoma State Benefits from property tax relief, discounted auto tags, hunting and fishing license ECT. Oklahoma offers some of these benefits for those with a VA Disability Rating of 50 percent or higher. The property tax and sales tax require the veteran to have a 100 percent VA rating for their disabilities.

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