NORMAN — Our volunteer of the week is a lady all of those who visit Veterans Corner will know. We are proud to recognize Mrs. Joan Baxter for helping our veterans who have been rated at 100 percent disabled because of their service-connected conditions. She helps those veterans and their spouses apply for the Champ-VA Insurance and the Oklahoma state tax benefits.
Thursday, 140 veterans and surviving spouses were assisted with their VA claims and questions about possible benefits. Nine veterans received a 100 percent rating for their disabilities that were caused by or aggravated by military service.
These men and women will be eligible for the Oklahoma state benefits. Some of the spouses and their dependents also will be eligible for free Champ-VA medical insurance.
Twenty veterans filed their first VA claims for benefits. I have been encouraging all veterans to sign up for a premium account in E-Benefits. With this, veterans can file claims, check their status and upload evidence. If you have problems logging on, the VA has an office in the federal building in Oklahoma City that can help.
Shirley and her crew of ladies helped 19 ladies apply for DIC or pension benefits. If you need assistance, please stop by or call Shirley at 361-9322 or Dale at 550-8806. We are working on a lady’s DIC claim that has been denied for the last four years because her husband’s Navy ship was on the Blue Water list during the Vietnam War. The other day, I was checking the updated list of ships that have been added as being presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange, and his ship was on the list. I will send a request to the VA to reconsider the denial.
If you are a surviving spouse of a veteran who was on board one of these ships, check to see if his ship was added. All veterans who served on board these ships should also check to see if theirs was added to the Agent Orange list. Fifteen diseases are presumptive to exposure to that chemical.