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February 12, 2014

Snow, ice doesn’t deter 50 veterans, surviving spouses

NORMAN — We are recognizing Harold Harvell as the Veterans Corner volunteer of the week.

Harvell is an Air Force veteran and takes care of the veterans memorial along with his other duties, including selling hats, bricks and other fundraisers. He has been with Veterans Corner since 2009. He and his wife, Shirley, reside in Goldsby.

The snow and ice we had last week did not keep more than 50 veterans and surviving spouses from making the trip to Goldsby for assistance with their claims for veterans benefits.

Three veterans received VA ratings of 100 percent for their service-connected disabilities. These men and women also will be eligible for the Oklahoma State Tax Benefits that was approved by the Legislature several years ago.

If you know of a veteran who is service-connected above 50 percent, they may be eligible for some state benefits, also. These could include free fishing and hunting license and reduced price for auto tags.

Only those who receive the 100 percent VA rating are eligible for the Property Tax Exemption, Champ-VA medical insurance for dependents and commissary privileges.

Five veterans filed their first claims for VA benefits. There are two ways that we use to file for VA benefits on most of the men and women we assist.

One is an informal claim; this is used to establish a start date for VA benefits. When a VA claim for benefits is approved, the payments start one month after the claim is filed. Many times, the veteran or surviving spouse will need to obtain medical evidence or records before submitting a claim for benefits.

When this information is received, we then assist them to file what is called a fully developed claim. By using this system that the Veterans Administration has implemented, the time it takes for them to make a decision should be significantly reduced.

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