The Norman Transcript

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August 28, 2013

Volunteers assist 125 veterans file VA benefit claims

NORMAN — This week, we are recognizing a Marine who has assisted a great number of veterans during the six years he has been a volunteer with Veterans Corner.

Gerald Ashley, who resides in Oklahoma City, makes the drive to Goldsby each week to help veterans. He has been recuperating from an accident where he broke his ankle. We are hoping he will be back on the job within a week or so.

Last Thursday, volunteers helped 125 veterans and surviving spouses with their claims. Twenty-three filed their first claims for VA benefits Thursday.

Of the total number, five veterans received a rating of 100 percent for their service-connected injuries. Some of those who received that rating were injured in the military, while others may have developed a disease that is presumptive to military service. These presumptive diseases could be any of the 15 or so diseases that Agent Orange is presumed to have caused to veterans who served in Vietnam.

Veterans who were part of the atomic testing and developed cancers may receive benefits. If they are deceased, there may be benefits for the spouse or children. If the veteran has any documentation showing they were part of the test or cleanup, consider stopping by for a visit with Shirley or Patti for assistance in filing with the Department of Justice or with the VA in some cases.

Each Thursday, Shirley and her team of volunteers see the consequences of what men and women in the military were exposed to while in the military. We are averaging 22 surviving spouses each week who are applying for VA widows benefits. If their husband served in Vietnam and then died from one of the presumptive diseases, the surviving spouse should receive DIC benefits. Those whose husbands served in the Navy on ships that were using asbestos as insulation, and then died of lung cancer, may be able to receive DIC.

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