The Norman Transcript

January 22, 2014

Nine veterans recently received 100 percent rating for disabilities


The Norman Transcript

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.

Our benevolence fund has been used to help many veterans and surviving spouses in the last couple of weeks. Last Thursday, it was used for medical testing for five veterans and one surviving spouse. Many times, the veteran will need a diagnosis of their disability before we file a Fully Developed Claim for them. The fund also was used to provide payments for utilities and rent.

As a nonprofit, we accept the donation of cars, trucks, boats or handicap equipment that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds. These donations are usually tax deductible. Visit treasurer Jerry Baxter at the Goldsby Community Center on Thursdays or call 833-0773. We also can accept donations directly from your credit card, if you would like to be a Veterans Corner sponsor. Just visit veteranscorner.org.

John Carter, building fund chairman, continues to do his part as we proceed with our plans to build a veterans’ facility. Our property on State Highway 9 west of Interstate 35 will be the location of our proposed facility. When we have the money needed for construction, there will be a ground-breaking ceremony. For more information, call him at 202-1999.

Water contamination occurred at Camp Lejuene Marine Base in North Carolina. If you or your family members were there from 1954 to 1984, you were exposed to chemicals in the water system.

Fourteen types of cancers may be presumptive to the men and women who served there. For family members who are ill from those chemicals, the VA should provide medical care. We have started filing claims for compensation for some veterans who were stationed there.

For those who need food items, Sid Smith has food boxes prepared each Thursday for anyone who needs this assistance.

For all of your questions and assistance about veterans’ benefits, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Our doors open at 7 a.m. each Thursday, and sign-in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m. Please be there early.

For questions on widows’ benefits, contact Shirley at 361-9322.

For more information, you can contact me at 550-8806 or kdgraham@windstream.net. Semper Fi.

Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.

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