Under the new system, the veteran should ask their doctor to fill out a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire on their disability before filing for compensation. These DBQ are available at Veterans Corner or at the VA website, va.gov, by clicking on forms.
Many of the disabilities that a veteran has may be approved for service connection by using the DBQ forms. Certain conditions, such as hearing loss and PTSD, will continue to require an evaluation by VA or their contractor QTC services.
Last Thursday, five veterans were recently awarded a 100 percent rating. One of these wanted to say a few words of encouragement to those who were just starting the VA claims process. I listened to him make his first public speech from his wheelchair, telling all of those in attendance to never stop believing what volunteers could do for them.
Most of the men and women who visit with us don’t know that they are helping many of us just as much as we are helping them. Volunteering is the best therapy I have ever had since returning from Vietnam.
Fifteen surviving spouses were seen by Shirley and her crew of ladies who were filing for DIC or pension benefits. These ladies also have the option to use the new VA claims forms that will speed up the processing time it takes for a decision on their claims.
Some of the ladies they have helped are receiving a decision in 30 to 60 days, if all of the evidence is submitted the first time. Shirley is available at 361-9322 or each Thursday morning at the Goldsby Community Center.
I have been in contact with Dr. Juanita Celie, LCSW, BCD, at the Oklahoma City VA Mental Health Clinic (Suicide Prevention Program), who will make one trip each month to the Veterans Corner in Goldsby. She provides information packets to veterans and family members who need assistance.