James Fredrick O’Dell, Korean War Veteran
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
Last week we were able to assist 325 veterans who visited us at our Veterans Foundation last week. They came from as far away as Virginia on the East Coast and Washington on the West Coast. I feel like we are a lifeline for those veterans who have been denied by VA when they requested service-connection of a disability. While talking to some of our medical providers, it seems our way of filing evidenced based claims is beginning to be used by other veteran organizations. Some of them have been contacted by Service Officers from both the ODVA and the DAV with the request to evaluate veterans’ disabilities using the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires. Maybe others will soon follow as there are more veterans and surviving spouses than any one organization could possibly accommodate. Personally, I would like to see all organizations who assist veterans to be linked to better serve them and their family’s needs. Helping veterans is not a contest, and we should all be working towards the same goal to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have served this great nation. For those of you who share this goal, please contact our Executive Director Lora Malone at 405-550-8806 with your thoughts and ideas. Together we can be there for more of the men and women who have served.
Our veteran of the week, Mr. James Fredrick O’Dell of Norman, Oklahoma served in the Korean War. We appreciate his service along with the sacrifices that he made during that war. Thank you, Mr. O’Dell.
We continue to have some of the most knowledgeable and caring volunteers I have ever worked with in my twenty plus years of helping veterans and their families. We have several more of our folks who have applied with the VA to become Accredited Claims Agents. This will help our organization continue to grow. As far as I know, we are the only group that is made up of volunteers and Accredited Claims Agents who do not charge for their services. Those who represent veterans and surviving spouses for a fee will receive up to twenty percent of their VA payments from any funds received as a result of a Notice of Disagreement that was filed.
Each week we receive a copy of all the correspondence that VA sends to the veterans and surviving spouses who we represent. We review each one of them to decide and those who receive benefits or were denied will be sent a letter detailing what their next step should be in their claim. Since November of 2018, we have attended over ninety hearings for veterans. A decision is usually made a few months afterward, as of today most of the ones we have received have been approved. The VA has been working diligently to process the thousands of veteran’s claims that are at the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington DC. We have done most of our hearings using VA Video Hearings with a Veterans Law Judge. This system is working for the veterans we are assisting. The bottom line is a veteran must have evidence that supports their claim for benefits. As always, we do this using the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire or other evidence to support the veteran’s request.
Twenty-three veterans were awarded a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities last week. This group of men and women will receive a combined annual income of $930,054 per year. They will also be eligible for the other Oklahoma State Benefits available to them. We had 39 veterans approved for disability ratings from 10% to 90% their service-connected disabilities. They will receive a combined annual total of $542,889 per year. Those awarded 30% or higher will receive an increase for their dependents. As their ratings increase from 50% to 60%, there are other state benefits they may be eligible to receive.
Our organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies on donations to be able to provide services to the thousands of veterans and their families who need assistance. We accept the donation of cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other types of items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to provide for veteran’s needs. Please remember that your donations should be tax deductible on your income taxes. Thank You for supporting our Foundation. You can also donate anytime online at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or by mail at PO Box 592 Washington, OK 73093.
Counselors from the Vet Centers are here each session, and a Legal Aid representative is here on Thursdays. We have food baskets available for those who qualify. We look forward to your visit and thank you for trusting us to help you with your VA matters.
We are available every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 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.
Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org for more information. There you will find a section on Frequently Asked Questions. You may also contact us at 405-550-8806 for information or to schedule transportation.
As always, I want to say Thank You to all veterans and their families for their service to the United States of America.
Dale K. Graham, VA Accredited Claims Agent
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation