Allan Ballinger, Korean War Veteran
Dale K Graham Veterans Foundation
Today we recognize Mr. Allan Ballinger as our veteran of the week. He served honorably in United States Air Force during the Korean War. One of the most rewarding things we do each Tuesday and Thursday mornings is recognize the men and women who served during World War II and the Korean War. Each one of them is introduced to our visitors and presented with a cap representing their military service. Thank you, Mr. Ballinger, for your service to our country.
If you have not received our annual newsletter, please call Lora Malone at 405-550-8806 and request one. There were almost twenty-two thousand newsletters mailed out to the veterans and surviving spouses we have assisted with their VA benefits. We write this newsletter each year as a way to communicate with the men and women we serve. We want veterans to keep informed about any changes VA makes and to also think about reevaluating their disabilities that have become more severe.
Recently we updated our dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org website to make it more user-friendly, improved convenience, and it contains more information. Please take time to review the changes. We’d love to hear your comments and questions.
As we draw closer to the end of 2018, I would like to say that it has been a very rewarding year for our veterans and their surviving spouses. There have been more than ten thousand we have assisted with their claims and questions in the last twelve months. It has been gratifying for our volunteers to have been able to make such an impact on so many of the lives of the men and women we serve. As of today, during 2018 we have helped 1,718 veterans receive disability ratings from ten to ninety percent for their service-connected disabilities. This year in the group of veterans we help there have been 988 awarded a one hundred percent rating for their service-connected disabilities.
Last week 20 veterans received a disability rating of 100%. These men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $753,406 per year. Forty veterans were awarded disability ratings from 10 to 90%. These veterans both men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $598,014 per year. A surviving spouse of a veteran was awarded DIC and will receive $15, 828 per year. It Looks like there are going to be a lot of veterans and their families who are going to have a much better Christmas than they thought they would before being approved for their VA benefits. Of course, other benefits may be available to both veterans and surviving spouses. Veterans who receive a permanent disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities are eligible for the property tax exemption on their primary residence in Oklahoma. As other states have different benefits always contact your states veterans’ benefits office as many of them offer different types of benefits depending on their VA disability ratings. Dependents of veteran’s rated 100% service connected that are not retired military are eligible for the VA Champ-VA Medical Insurance. One of my favorite benefits for Oklahoma Veterans is the Sales Tax exemption for veterans who are rated 100% permanent and total. Some of these benefits are saving disabled veterans thousands of dollars each year. There is also the free Hunting and Fishing License and Auto Tag reduction that are available for veterans rated 60% or more for their service-connected disabilities. Another benefit that many veterans are not aware of is the education benefit for the dependents of veterans who are rated 100%. The spouses and dependents may be eligible for education benefits from VA of more than $1200 per month for those enrolled in higher education. For more information please contact your college or stop by for a visit with one of our volunteers. There are many benefits for veterans and one of the things our volunteers do is try to do is share that information. We often tell our visitors each week is that the VA is not going to knock on your door to tell you what is available.
We have been adding volunteers to reduce the wait time and to be able to serve the increased number of veterans and surviving spouses who need our assistance with their VA claims and questions. We are training the new volunteers as quickly as possible and are hopeful shortly we will be able to assist everyone who arrives before 7 am and won’t have to turn anyone away. The doors are open by 0530 on each of the days we are open.
One of the things unknown to many of our disabled veterans is if their service-connected disability requires surgery or they are incapacitated for thirty days or more the veteran can request a temporary 100% rating during convalescence. An example might be a knee condition that is service-connected at 10% that requires knee replacement. If the disability is approved as one at a temporary 100% rate, the VA will pay the veteran more than $3,000 per month during convalescence. If the veteran is rated above sixty percent or higher before receiving the temporary 100% rating, he or she could probably receive the house-bound rating which pays an additional four hundred dollars per month bringing their total monthly compensation to more than $3500 per month during their convalescence. The rule here is if a service-connected disability requires the veteran to be down more than thirty days come for a visit and file for those benefits. Every day that I help veterans some of them will tell me that they had surgery or were diagnosed with a presumptive type of cancer to their military service and they did not know about the temporary 100% rating.
St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Norman is gathering items for the residents of the Norman Veterans Center. Here’s the list:
Socks (crew style, both white and black)
Lap blankets or quilts
Toiletries (shaving cream and razors, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
Checkers, checkerboards, dominoes, and playing cards
New winter wear: scarves, hats, gloves, slipper socks
New clothing: shirts, sweatshirts, t-shirts
We have been collecting items to help with this effort and are happy to deliver any items you’d like to drop off with us.
If you would like to donate to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, you can do so at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or mail a check to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation at P.O. Box 592 Washington, Oklahoma 73093. As a 501-C-3 non-profit your gift may be tax deductible. We appreciate your support of our nation’s veterans and their families.
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation has food sacks available to those in need. An application for this type of assistance will be available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. A DD-214 or military discharge will be necessary to apply. Please contact 405-550-8806 Extension 103 to request a food sack.
Several organizations have services at our location each week. Legal Aid for veterans is available each Thursday morning. Counselors from the Vet Center will be available each Tuesday and Thursday morning to answer questions about their services.
If you need a ride to and from a VA Medical Appointment, please contact 405-550-8806 to reach Clayton at Extension 105 or Louie at Ext. 106.
We are available every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the 1268 North Interstate Drive Norman, OK 73072. We open the doors by 5:30 a.m. and we begin working as soon as volunteers have their computers ready. We stop taking clients at 8:00 a.m. and urge you to arrive as early as possible. Contact us with any questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For telephone assistance, please call 405-550-8806 to listen to our options. For general information dial extension 101, to schedule transportation dial extension 105 or 106.
For help with Surviving Spouse Benefits, dial extension 104, or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning. Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper Fi!
As always, I want to say Thank You to all veterans and their families for their service to this United States of America.
Dale K. Graham, USMC, VA Accredited Claims Agent
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation