Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation Veteran of the week is Mr. Hubert Oberste who served during World War II.  Mr. Oberste served in the United States Army and Marines.  He made his first trip to visit us last Thursday morning from his home in Del City.   Thank You, Mr. Oberste for all you have done to help keep us free.

Each Tuesday and Thursday morning we get to meet some of the men and women who have served in the military of this great nation.  This two percent of our population enables the rest of us to enjoy the freedom and do what we choose with our lives.  All of us at our Veterans Foundation have chosen to make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families. Please know our volunteers are here to help everyone receive the VA benefits for which they are eligible.   People frequently tell us they were denied by the VA when they applied for benefits before coming to see our volunteers.  Currently, we are assisting an average of almost 300 veterans and surviving spouses each week.  For those who have not stopped by to have your VA benefits reviewed or to file your first claim, we are available early each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman Oklahoma.  Currently, we have assisted veterans and spouses from all 77 counties in Oklahoma and from 45 other states.  It looks to me like it’s our volunteers with their “can do” attitude who are making the difference between denial or approval of VA benefits.  Our group of hard-working volunteers includes our drivers who donated 80 hours transporting 25 veterans 1,475 miles just this past week.  Many thanks to these dedicated folks working to make a difference in the lives of our veterans and their families.One of the ways you can support our Veterans Foundation is by the donation of a car, truck, or motorcycle we can give to a veteran or a surviving spouse or sell to raise funds to support our mission. Many of the veterans we help receive VA benefits will purchase that new truck they have always wanted.   If you are one of those individuals, please consider donating your old vehicle to us.  As a 501-3-C nonprofit corporation, your donation should be tax deductible.  On an average month, we provide more than $25,000 in assistance to veterans and their surviving spouses.  This money comes from the men and women we serve.  For those of you who are making a monthly donation, I say Thank You from our group of volunteers along with the veterans and their families we serve.

The VA system is designed to help veterans receive the benefits for which they are eligible.  When folks are denied benefits, the biggest problem I see is they did not send in evidence in support of their claim for service-connection of a disability or for an increased rating.  My suggestion to every veteran who is filing a claim for VA benefits is to ask your medical provider to fill out a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire for you to file with your 21-526EZ application for VA benefits.  The forms for every disability are available on the VA website or just Google VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire and look for the name of your disability.  We use those forms on 98% of the initial claims we file for veterans and when we are asking for a reevaluation of a service-connected disability.  Everyone should know by now that you must have evidence to support service-connection of most disabilities.  For those veterans who have a presumptive condition to their military service such as one of those listed under Agent Orange, a Disability Benefits Questionnaire should also be used to show the severity of that disability and to add the secondary conditions presumptive to their disability. For questions about presumptive disabilities, stop in any Tuesday or Thursday morning.  We do start at 0530 and have usually signed in the maximum number we can assist by 0700.

As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I have access to the VA VBMS database that contains all the information that VA has on the veterans I represent.  This enables me to review each rating decision along with the evidence used to prove service connection of a disability.  I can also see the veteran’s service medical records.  Having this data available makes it possible to help more veterans get approved for VA benefits than ever before.  Surviving spouse who we help receive VA benefits visit us to file one of the following types of benefits DIC, pension or Aid and Attendance. We can review the veteran’s file to see all disabilities the veteran was service-connected for.  By having that information, we then ask the surviving spouse to review the veterans Death Certificate to see if one of the service-connected disabilities or a presumptive one to their military service is listed as the primary cause of death or as a contributing factor to their death.  Many times, the veterans Death Certificate can be amended to reflect their service-connected or presumptive disabilities as a cause of death or listed as a condition contributing to their cause of death.   It would be much easier to help the surviving spouses receive VA benefits if the veteran would have only filed a claim with us.

Last week I received 158 letters from the VA.  These letters included rating decisions on veterans and surviving spouses.  Of that total number, 17 veterans both male and female who received a disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. These men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $655,738 per year. They will be eligible for our Oklahoma State tax benefit package that includes: discounted auto tags, sales tax exemption, property tax exemption on their primary residence along with free hunting and fishing licenses.  Twenty-nine veterans received disability ratings from 10% to 90%. This group of men and women will receive a combined annual income of $372,235 per year.  One surviving spouse was awarded one DIC Benefits based on their spouse’s military service.  This spouse will receive a $18,667per year.

We are continuing to see many veterans and surviving spouses from the Norman area even though I thought we would have processed all of them by now.  During the next few weeks, we will review our database to see exactly how many from Norman and some of the surrounding towns we have helped to receive VA benefits.

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 7:00 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!

 

Dale K. Graham

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, VA Accredited Claims Agent