Successful Veterans Support Effort

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Successful Veterans Support System

By: Dale K. Graham, Accredited VA Claims Agent

Many of our veterans need help in these trying times. Some veterans are desperate for help. When we succeed in helping raise a veteran’s service-connected disability rating to 70%, there will be no charge for that veteran to live in any of our Oklahoma State Veterans facilities. 

That can be a game changer for any Veteran who needs that level of care and has a spouse who needs that money to continue living at home. As I have always said, it is a Great feeling to be able to improve the lives of all veterans and their families.

There are over 200 veterans and surviving spouses who are making the trip to Faith Pointe Baptist Church each week for assistance with their VA claims and questions.

I recently reviewed the number of veterans we are representing. It looks like we will have more than ten thousand folks before the end of 2017. I don’t know of any VA Accredited Claims Agents in the United States who has accomplished what we have in both the quality and quantity of providing help to veterans and surviving spouses with their claims for VA benefits.

We see many surviving spouses of veterans who have taken their own life because of PTSD or other problems that seem beyond their control. Sometimes it is very difficult for us to be able to service-connect the veteran’s death if they were not service connected for a mental condition during their lifetime.

We have been able to help some surviving spouses receive DIC benefits which are available when the veteran dies from a service-connected disability or is presumptive to their military service. Gathering evidence for this purpose may be accomplished by providing medical evidence.

Such medical evidence may be in the form of a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire from a mental health professional showing a diagnosis of PTSD based on available medical and mental health records, along with evidence from people who knew the veterans mental state. The reason I’m bringing this up is that we had a young Marine who took his life last year.

When we filed for DIC for his surviving spouse, the VA twice denied our request. Each time we received a denial we went to another doctor for a diagnosis of the veteran’s PTSD. Based on the report of the 3rd doctor the VA approved our request for service connection of PTSD as the cause of death.

This means his surviving spouse will be able to return to school and receive $1250 per month as well as Champ-VA medical insurance, education benefits, and some of the state benefits. We invite all surviving spouses of veterans to meet with Shirley and our ladies with your questions about possible VA benefits. 

Just this past week we set a record for the number of veterans who received a 100% disability rating for their service-connected disabilities. We received VA decision letters 16 veterans both male and female. Two of them were from Nebraska and Texas with the rest being fellow Oklahomans.

These veterans will receive an annual combined amount of $602,898.49 per year.

Twenty-nine veterans received disability ratings ranging from 10% to 90%. These men and women will receive an annual combined compensation of $433,129.68.

We had three surviving spouses who were approved for DIC or pension benefits based on their spouse’s military service and together they will receive $45,286.20.

To us at Faith Pointe Baptist Church who volunteer our services to help all veterans and their families, it feels magnificent to know that we are making a difference in their lives. Some of the men and women we are helping have a difficult time because of financial worries before deciding to come to us for help with their VA claims.

Everyone keeps telling me that the economy is getting better just does not seem to be trickling down to some of the homeless veterans who we are seeing.

Volunteers, Louie and Clayton, spent 62 hours last week traveling 1123 miles to transport 18 folks to their VA appointments. Louie and his wife Norma make sure we have food baskets for those in need. 

Each week we help veterans and surviving spouses with rents, food items. Medical testing, utilities, gas cards and other financial needs. One of the homeless veterans we saw this week asked if we could store his personal items in a mini storage as he was living in his Ranger pickup. A lot of us just don’t realize how well off we are when we have a warm place to stay and food to eat. On average, we spend around thirty thousand dollars each month assisting veterans and their families with their needs. Most of this money comes from people in our local communities or from veterans and their family members who we have helped. For those of you who would like to help us to improve the lives of veterans and their families, we are a 501 -3-c non-profit where your donations are tax deductible.

One of the programs we have that I feel is very popular is our vehicle giveaway. Many of the men and women we help end up purchasing a newer car or truck after they are approved for benefits. Some of them have donated their old vehicles to be given away through our organization. This has proven to be a win -win situation for the donor who receives possibly more money as a tax deduction than they would have trading in their old car or truck and the needy veteran who receives reliable transportation. I encourage anyone who would like to be a part of this program to visit with us any Tuesday or Thursday. I know that our volunteer drivers Clayton and Louie could probably take a day off if some of the veterans they were transporting to the OKC VA Hospital had their own transportation.

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation has food boxes 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 Rhonda 405-550-8806 Extension 103 to request a food box.

If you need a ride to and from a VA Medical Appointment, please contact Clayton at 405-550-8806 Extension 105 or Louie at 405-642-7100. 

For questions, we have an automated phone system that lets you pick the person who can help you with your VA questions. Please call 405-550-8806 and choose the extension for the person you want to reach.

We are at Faith Pointe Baptist Church each Thursday morning at 5:30 am located at 3404 NW 36th Norman, OK 73072. Please arrive by 9 am.

Contact Dale with any questions at 405-550-8806 Extension 101 or dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or Shirley Clark-Cowdin for spouse benefits at Extension 104. Visit our website at www.dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.

Semper Fi!

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation

Accredited VA Claims Agent

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