Bill Scott, a Vietnam Veteran is our Veteran of the week. We are thankful to have him as a volunteer, and we are proud of him and his accreditation as a VA Claims Agent. He volunteers numerous hours each week with our organization. Thank you, Bill, for your continued service.
As many of you have noticed, we are only able to accept the first 140 veterans and surviving spouses who arrive at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma each Tuesday and Thursday morning for assistance with their VA claims. The time people start coming continues to be earlier each week. Last Thursday one of them told me he arrived at 8 pm the night before and was number 4. We try to start seeing veterans at 4 am on each of those days, and we are full by then or shortly afterward. On average, thirty or more are turned away each week and asked to return earlier the next day we are open. I guess there is something to be said about being too successful. We are doing everything we can do to be able to process as many veterans as we can each day we are open. Some of our volunteers, including myself, have been working fourteen-hour days to accomplish our mission of helping veterans and their families to receive the VA benefits that they are eligible for. We are continuing to look at many types of options that will enable us not to have to turn veterans and surviving spouses away when we have reached the capacity of our building, and the total number that we can assist with their applications for VA benefits. One day last month, we did process over 190 in one day. By the time we had finished, most of us were reaching the limits of our abilities, as most of us are retired and let’s be honest, old! After the last client leaves, we review each application for benefits making sure there are no mistakes. This usually takes us two to three hours to accomplish after we close our doors. Last week we processed over 300 veterans and surviving spouses with their claims for VA benefits. That number is probably going to be the maximum that we can accommodate each week until we are able to enlarge our facility and increase the number of volunteers working each day.
As many of you know, we post the number of veterans who receive a 100% rating, 10% to 90% rating and the surviving spouses approved for VA benefits. As of last week, we are on schedule to top our 2018 record of one thousand veterans who received a 100% rating. So far this year, we have had over 600 men and women veterans who received VA disability ratings of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. Last week 32 veterans were awarded a 100% rating for their disabilities caused or aggravated by military service. These men and women will receive a combined annual income of $1,336,387. Thirty-three veterans received disability ratings from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities. They will receive an annual combined amount of $492,638. Three surviving spouses were awarded DIC, VA Pension, or Aid and Attendance based on their spouse’s military service and will receive a combined annual amount of $42,883. We will send a letter out to each of the men and women who received VA decisions either approved or denied telling them what their next step in the VA claims process should be.
All of us here at Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation are volunteers and are only here for one reason, and that is to assist you the veteran or you the surviving spouse of a veteran. I believe that is one of the main reasons that we are successful with our claims for VA benefits for the men and women who served in the military of this United States of America. I believe when a volunteer is helping a veteran, they are doing so out of respect and appreciation for a job well done. It’s not just a job; it’s a passion our volunteers have in helping to make a difference in the lives of all who served in the military and for their families who have also paid the price. For those of you who would like to become a volunteer with our organization, applications are available at our location each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Of all the veterans and their family members we have helped over the years, we have found that the percentage who are willing to help those less fortunate by paying it forward is very low with an average of ten to twelve percent. We provide approximately $25,000 in aid to veterans and their families each month. Most of this is spent to help veterans to pay for the cost of medical expenses for examinations and evaluations of a disability that occurred in the military.
As the Department of Veterans Affairs uses a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire to evaluate a veteran’s disabilities, we feel that the veteran should also obtain one from their medical provider. The only difference is the VA pays their contractors thousands of dollars for each evaluation while the veterans pay a fraction of that amount for the same Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ). It looks to me like some of the contractors are making a lot of money that could have been spent on veterans and their families to start with. I would venture a guess that the VA is paying hundreds of millions of dollars for the same DBQ forms we have completed by medical providers for $300 or less each.
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 atdalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or by mail at PO Box 592 Washington, OK 73093.
We have power wheelchairs and scooters that have been donated. If you know a veteran who needs one, please contact us.
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.