Tiffany’s Restaurant located in Noble at 101 Main Street will host its sixth annual B. K. Shaw annual Veterans Breakfast from 6 am to 1 pm on July 31, 2018.

Congratulations Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation Veteran of the week Mr. Troy Lollis who served during World War II in the United States Navy.  Mr. Lollis makes his home in Choctaw, Oklahoma.  Thank you for your service, sir!

Many veterans who have outstanding appeals will receive a RAMP letter.  This is a new program and provides a way for the VA to settle claims that have been in the appeals process for an extended period. For those of you who receive one of these letters, please bring it in and we will review it with you to determine whether that would be the best course of action for your claim.  Several of those we have helped with RAMP had their claims approved in just a few months.  Without RAMP, is not unusual to see some appealed claims take three to five years to get settled.I continue to be amazed at the number of veterans and surviving spouses who visit us each week for assistance with their VA claims and questions.  Last Tuesday, there were 145 of them who we were able to assist.  As there are always more than we can accommodate, please remember that we start helping veterans by at least 5:30 a.m. and we are usually full before 7 a.m.  After we reach our capacity, the only time we accept visitors is if they traveled a great distance to reach us.  It appears to me our reputation for helping veterans and surviving spouses receive the VA benefits for which they are eligible is reaching veterans in many other states. We’ve had visitors from all seventy-seven counties in Oklahoma and from forty-five other states.  What surprises me is that we have only been in Norman a few years and already assisted more than nineteen thousand veterans and surviving spouses with their VA claims and questions.  It is a little strange that veterans and spouses are very happy with us, yet some organizations don’t seem to like us much.  It could be that we ask veterans to send in medical evidence such as a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire filled out by their medical provider in support of a veteran’s claim for service-connection or an increased rating of disability.  Over the many years, we have been helping veterans and surviving spouses we have found evidence-based claims means it is likely a request for service-connection of a disability or an increase will be approved.  Far too many veterans whose claims are filed at other places will be denied because no evidence was provided.

During the upcoming week, we will be in Muskogee to represent three veterans for hearings scheduled before a VA Administrative Law Judge via video conference.  The VA has already approved several of those that we represented there a few months ago.  When we travel to VA hearings, I do not want to go there without evidence from the veteran’s medical provider that supports our request for service-connection of a disability.  I would certainly like to see the VA schedule these types of hearings at the Oklahoma City VA. It would save us that drive to Muskogee from Norman.   Guess I’m always looking for the most convenient way to assist veterans and their families.

Last week there were fourteen veterans we represent awarded a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  This group of veterans both male and female will receive an annual combined dollar amount of $538,794 per year.  We pride ourselves in being able to assist veterans and surviving spouses receive the VA benefits for which they are eligible.  We set a record in the next category.  Fifty-five veterans received VA disability ratings from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities caused by or aggravated by their military service.  This group of veterans will receive an annual combined dollar amount of $860,499 per year.   For more information on what you may be eligible for please stop by and visit with one of our volunteers.  There was one surviving spouse awarded VA benefits for DIC based on their spouse’s service.

There are thousands of veterans who have received other than Honorable Discharges from the military.  For some of those, we have been able to upgrade that discharge if the veteran has a diagnosis of PTSD or other mental condition.  For those veterans who would like to try for an upgrade, please visit us any Tuesday or Thursday morning.  For those of you who need a DD-214 (Military Discharge) we are available to help you to order one from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Our volunteers working on the claims for surviving spouses are doing everything possible to help them receive VA benefits. I have found that it is much easier to help the surviving spouses whose veteran filed for and received VA benefits.  Usually applying for DIC is going to be the best option.  To receive this benefit, the veteran must have been rated at the 100% rating for ten years or died from a presumptive condition to their military service.  Another way is if the veteran’s service-connected disability is listed as the primary or a contributing condition to their death.  Many times, it is possible to amend the veterans Death Certificate to reflect the presumptive or the contributing factor of a service-connected disability.  For questions about surviving spouse benefits please visit with one of our volunteers who specialize in this service.

Our drivers are staying very busy transporting veterans to their VA medical appointments and to our location for help with their VA claims.  Each week they are transporting from 8 to 15 veterans to their appointments.  Our handicap accessible wheelchair van has proven to be a great tool to transport our wheelchair confined veterans.  Last week our drivers donated 71 hours driving 19 veterans 1,012 miles.

As most of you know, we are a 501-C-3 nonprofit charity that provides everything we do at no charge.  We do accept donations to help with the costs we incur to provide our services.  We also accept the donations of cars, trucks, motorcycles and other items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to be used in what we do.  Monthly we are spending close to thirty thousand dollars on direct aid to our veterans and their families who are in need.  All of us are volunteers who are doing our best to make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families.   For our volunteers who are making what we do possible my thanks go out to you and from all of the men and women we see each Tuesday and Thursday.

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.

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 morning 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 as soon as we reach the quota for the day, and that time varies depending on the number of visitors and the number of available volunteers, which usually occurs around 8:00 a.m.  Contact us with any questions by email dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.  For telephone assistance, please call 405-550-8806 to listen to our options.  For help with Surviving Spouse Benefits, Shirley can also be reached at 405-361-9322, or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning. Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper Fi!