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July 24, 2013

Many who were part of atomic testing are eligible for benefits

NORMAN — Each week, we recognize one of our volunteers who makes the trip to Goldsby each Thursday morning to do their part in helping our veterans and their families. We are proud to have Mr. Charles Seekings as a volunteer who has been with us for the past three years.

Charles and his wife, Andrea, make their home in Moore. He is a veteran of both the Marines and the Air Force, serving honorably in each branch of the military.  Charles’s wife supports his desire to help all veterans to receive VA benefits that they are eligible for.

Shirley and her crew of ladies who help veterans’ surviving spouses processed 22 ladies for either DIC or pension benefits. DIC recipients will receive around $1,200 per month from the VA. Pension benefits for surviving spouses are based on income levels.

They also filed two radiation claims with the Justice Department for surviving spouses whose husbands died from cancer. We are finding that many of the veterans who were part of the atomic testing were diagnosed with cancer. If a veteran’s cancer was cured, he or she also can file a claim with the Justice Department. Some of their widows will be eligible to receive the $80,000 that is available from the Justice Department.

If the atomic veteran who had cancer and his spouse are both deceased, the children or grandchildren may be eligible to file for the cash settlement. Documentation would be needed showing that they were part of an atomic test or cleanup along with being diagnosed with cancer. Shirley can be reached at 361-9322 to answer your questions.

We assisted 129 veterans and surviving spouses on Thursday. Of this number, 22 were filing their first claims for benefits. Many of these requested service connection for hearing loss and tinnitus. For those who are approved by the VA, veterans may receive a 10 percent rating for tinnitus (ringing in ears).

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