NORMAN — Today we are recognizing an Army veteran as the volunteer of the week. Keith Riggins has been with us more than four years helping veterans to file their claims for service connected injuries that occurred in the military. Keith and his wife Aegeda make their home in Lexington.
Last Thursday, Shirley and her crew of ladies reached a milestone when they were able to process 20 surviving spouses for benefits. If you have questions, stop by or call Shirley at 361-9322.
There were 147 veterans and surviving spouses who were assisted with their VA claims and questions Thursday morning. Of this number, there were 23 who filed their first claim for benefits. There were seven Veterans who received ratings of 100 percent. These Veterans will qualify for the Oklahoma State Tax benefits that our Legislature approved several years ago. If you are rated 50 percent or higher by VA, there are several benefits that are available. Those with a 10 percent VA rating are eligible for a Golden Access Card that can be used for discounts at most National parks. We were able to assist 16 Veterans who were recently rated from 10 percent to 90 percent for their service connected disabilities.
On another note, if a veteran was involved in the nuclear testing that was done during the ’40s, ’50s or ’60s, there are benefits that might be payable if the veteran became ill or died of some types of cancers. These types of claims are not processes through the VA. We have some information for these types of claims and can help you to file for the benefit.
As most of you know we are in the planning stages of purchasing land to build our own Veterans Corner building. We want to do more for our veterans and surviving spouses than we are able to provide. We need a place that is always set up and ready to provide veterans and surviving spouses the services that are needed. This also will increase the ability to store items that are needed for disabled veterans. We also plan on increasing the capacity to provide food and other household items than we are able to currently. If you would like to help us with this endeavor, please contact us.