I hope that each of you had a Merry Christmas this year and were able to spend time with family and friends.  All of us at our Veterans Foundation wish everyone a Happy New Year.  

One of the things we have not written about in quite a while is what the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars do for our communities.   I want to commend the men and women who give their time and energy to support our local veterans and their families.  One of their projects in our town of Washington is placing the American flags on Veteran graves at our local cemetery.  Some posts have Honor Guards that provide their services at veterans’ funerals.  Those organizations sponsor many programs.  Each of them has a website that describes what programs they have.  Today, many local organizations have lost key members due to their ages.  While talking to the American Legion Commander in the town of Washington, he said he would like to increase the number of active members to their post to enable the Legion to be more involved in community activities.  I would like to see all our veteran organizations be more engaged in local communities.

Our volunteers work very hard to process the many veterans and surviving spouse applications for benefits.  I encourage all veterans and their families to consider being a part of what we do for the men and women who have served in the military.  We have training weekly that can either be in person or digital on your computer or tablet.  With our new computer programs, volunteers can work from home or at our Foundation.  Many veterans in our community need our help to navigate the VA claims process.  As always, we need more volunteers to help us to make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families.  Please consider being a volunteer to enable us to change the lives of the men and women who have served in our armed forces.

Every week we receive calls from veterans or surviving spouses who want to file a claim for benefits.  My answer to all of them is if you don’t have an open claim, call VA at 1-800-827-1000 to ask them to start a claim for you.  Doing this will give the veteran a start date of the following month and give them one year from that date to file the VA application for benefits.  Beginning an open claim means that if the veteran made that call in December 2021 and it took them six months to gather evidence and file their claim, benefits would begin February 1, 2022, if their application for benefits was approved. 

With so many of our veterans dying from COVID and the different variants, we see an increased number of surviving spouses applying for VA benefits.  I encourage all spouses to know what their veteran is service-connected for.  If the service-connected disability is listed on their Death Certificate as their cause of death or is listed under the contributing condition section, the spouse should be able to receive VA DIC compensation ranging from $1200 to $1600 per month.  

To donate to our Foundation, you can do so online at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or mail a check to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, 1268 N. Interstate Drive, Norman, OK, 73072. You can contact us on our website or by calling 405-550-8806. 


Dale K. Graham