Russell Miller, Korean War Veteran
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
Our Veteran of the week is Mr. Russell Miller, who served our country during the Korean War as a member of the United States Airforce. We recognized him for his service and presented a military cap depicting his time in the military. Mr. Miller makes his home in Norman, Oklahoma. Thank You for your service, sir, and the sacrifices that you made.
Each week we are assisting over three hundred veterans and surviving spouses with their VA claims and questions. When we first started this organization, I for one never dreamed that so many needed help to receive the VA benefits that they were eligible for. With so many organizations who have been providing claims service to veterans and their families’, one would think that everyone who needed assistance with their claims would have already been served. We have been reviewing the rating decisions of the veterans and surviving spouses that we have served looking for the common denominator that showed why they were approved for benefits. The reason is our evidenced based claims, meaning we submit medical and other types of documentation that supports the veteran’s request for service-connection of a new disability or an increased rating on an existing service-connected disability. The one single thing that helps veterans to be approved for benefits is a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) that is available for most any type of disability that a veteran is diagnosed with. We think if the VA uses these forms to diagnose and evaluate a veteran’s disabilities, then we should use them also.
The Department of Veterans Affairs follows the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 38 parts 0 thru 17 to evaluate and rate and veteran’s disabilities. That CFR is available online, or a copy can be purchased through the Government Printing Office. One of the things that you will need to know is the code number of any service-connected disabilities you want to review. The code number is available either by calling 1-800-827-1000 or by reviewing your service-connected disabilities in your E-Benefits account. To my way of thinking, each disabled veteran should gain as much knowledge as possible about their disabilities. For both their health concerns and of course the VA ratings on each service-connected condition. One of the questions we receive every day is, “Will my spouse be able to receive VA benefits after I have passed on?” My standard answer to that question is if the service-connected disability is listed on the Veteran’s Death Certificate as the primary cause of death or on as a contributing condition to their Death, the surviving spouse should be eligible to receive from $1200 to $1500 per month. What we see many times is the attending physician at the time of death does not know what conditions the veteran was service connected for. In these types of cases, we try to ask the primary medical provider to send a letter to the Oklahoma Health Department asking for an Amended Death Certificate listing the service-connected conditions that contributed to their death.
There were over three hundred veterans and surviving spouses assisted by our volunteers last Tuesday and Thursday morning. One of the Marine veterans I was working with had driven twenty-five hours from Virginia for help with his VA claims. He had served in Vietnam as an enlisted infantry where he received the Purple Heart for wounds in action. While in the Marines he became an officer and retired as a Major after more than twenty years of military service. When I asked him why he traveled so far for the assistance, he said that veterans he knew told him that we were the place to go for help with a VA claim. When I receive his VA rating decisions, I will share them with our readers.
The following rating decisions were received last week on veterans who are represented by us. Twenty-six veterans received a one hundred percent rating for their service-connected disabilities. These men and women who served in our military will receive a combined annual amount of $1,034,740. Fifty-four veterans received disability ratings from ten to ninety percent for their service-connected disabilities. They will receive a combined annual amount of $818,093 per year. Three surviving spouses were approved for DIC, Pension or Aid and Attendance based on their spouse’s military service. They will receive an annual combined amount of $47,485 per year.
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