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Veterans Corner Helping Veterans 

Did you know at Veteran’s Corner, giving help to veterans from other veterans is a mission not taken lightly?  The group at Veteran’s Corner is made up of former servicemen and woman who have bonded over the idea of “veterans helping veterans.” Neal Owens, one of the volunteers with Veteran’s Corner, said many veterans have never applied for all the benefits they can receive from the government for their service to their country.  The volunteers help file claims, get benefits or other assistants.  The group is in a new facility located at 3805 SE 44th Ave., Norman, OK.  They also travel around to meet with veterans who may not be able to get to there location.  For more information call 405-387-5070.

     

How to Check Accuracy of Your Rated Disability

Did you know you can visit Military Disability Made Easy to find out about the accuracy of your VA rated disability?  The site is comprised of a team of military medical professionals. With experience ranging from health care administration to analyzing military medical laws, policies, and directives, and reporting to congressional committees.

    

Free Resource Guide for Veterans & Family Members

Did you know Accredited Schools Online publishes an online guidebook that provides financial information and options for veterans, different associations and groups available for educational purposes, and pointers on how to choose the college best suited to the needs of veterans and their family members?

   

   

   

   

  

   

   

   

   

   

Boots On Ground Not Necessary

Did you know reversing a long-held position, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now says Air Force reservists who became ill after being exposed to Agent Orange residue while working on planes after the Vietnam War should be eligible for disability benefits?

    

The VA said it has been working to finalize a rule that could cover more than 2,000 military personnel who flew or worked on Fairchild C-123 aircraft in the U.S. from 1972 to 1982. Many of the Vietnam-era planes, used by the reservists for medical and cargo transport, had sprayed millions of gallons of herbicide during the 1955-1975 military conflict in Southeast Asia.

 

If the White House Office of Management and Budget approves the change, it would be the first time the VA had established a special category of Agent Orange exposure for military personnel without “boots on the ground” or inland waterways service in Vietnam. That could open the VA to renewed claims by thousands of other veterans who say they were exposed to Agent Orange in less direct circumstances, such as on the open sea.

    

Semper Fi Fund

Did you know the Semper Fi Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and its program America's Fund, are set up to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for wounded, critically-ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families?  Since establishing the Semper Fi Fund in 2004, they've issued more than 71,500 grants, totaling close to $91 million in assistance to over 11,500 heroes and their families.  For assistance call 760-725-3680.

      

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

  

Pain May Be Considered A Disability

Did you know on April 3, 2018, the Federal Circuit revived a U.S. Army veteran’s claim for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits stemming from knee pain, ruling that pain alone can be considered a disability?

         
Apparently, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims misinterpreted a disability benefit statute when it ruled that Melba Saunders’ knee pain could not, in the absence of a specific diagnosis or other identified disease or injury, be considered the basis for benefits, a three-judge panel ruled in a precedential decision.

   

According to the court’s decision, “We conclude that pain is an impairment because it diminishes the body’s ability to function, and that pain need not be diagnosed as connected to a current underlying condition to function as an impairment.”

         

Veterans Offered Free Service In Oklahoma

Did you know the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs offers free assistance to veterans two days a week in Enid and is encouraging local veterans to take advantage of the service?   Linda Turner, a Veterans Service Representative (VSR) with Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, meets with veterans on a walk-in basis from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Thursday and Friday at The Non-Profit Center, 114 S. Independence, Enid, Oklahoma.

       

Automatic Impact Payments
Did you know all recipients of VA disability payments were added to the list of individuals who will automatically receive economic impact payments from the IRS?  Veterans and dependents join recipients of Social Security retirement and disability payments, Railroad Retirement benefits, and Supplemental Security Income as people who will automatically receive an economic impact payment with no further action required on their part. The IRS says the timing of the payments is still being worked out and that additional programming needs to be done.  Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136, eligible individuals will receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

        

  

  

  

 

  

  

  

  

  

       

Poverty Threshhold Explanation

Did you know sustainable employment means a job pays above the poverty threshold for a single veteran with no dependents? In most cases, a salary above the poverty threshold makes a veteran ineligible for IU.  On the other hand, if below threshold, other considerations for employment status may be considered.  The poverty threshold fluctuates each year.  For example, in 2017 the figure was $12,060. If a veteran was working in 2017 and made less than $12,060 in the year 2017 or less than the threshold for previous years, the veteran may be eligible for individual unemployability.  Making less than the salary threshold sets the stage for IU eligibility.

Did You Know?

Fee Assistance for Child Care

Did you know military branches have a program to assist with the cost of community-based child care if an active duty service member is unable to get a space through the on-base programs? The program is called the Fee Assistance program and is administered by Child Care Aware of America.

     

VA May Owe You Money

Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is looking for more than 115,000 veterans who may be owed refunds of up to $2,700 for their GI Bill contributions?  Millions in educational benefits belonging to veterans has gone unclaimed for years.  Veterans who believe they may be eligible for a refund of their VEAP contributions should contact the GI Bill hotline at 888-442-4551 Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST.  Veterans living overseas should call 001-918-781-5678 for assistance. There is no deadline for claiming the unused funds.  Download refund application.

        

   

   

   

  

  

  

  

     

    

     

Military Crisis Line Text Messaging Service

Did you know the Military Crisis Line text-messaging service, and online chat provide free VA support for all active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and all veterans, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care? Call: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. Text: 838255. To use online chat click here.

         

DOE Forgives Student Loans

Did you know veterans and active duty service members with student loans may be eligible for special programs that forgive interest on their loans, or even cancel their entire loan liability in special circumstances? What's better, the Department of Education (DOE) is working with other government agencies to provide these benefits automatically with no action necessary on the borrower's part.

       

Four Paths To A Discharge Upgrade

Did you know there are four routes available to veterans who request a discharge upgrade?  They are:  Discharge Review Board (DRB), Boards for Correction of Military Records (BCMR), Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB), and Discharge Upgrades at the VA.

      

Benefits With Bad Conduct Discharge 

Did you know any discharge of General or below is considered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as dishonorable and will prevent veterans from gaining access to VA benefits?  However, there is a workaround solution.  Most veterans may have a period of qualifying service that was considered Honorable and that period of time can be used to access VA benefits even though the overall discharge for service did not qualify for VA benefits.

         

   

   

      

   

  

  

  

      

          

Massive COLA Increase May Be Looming

Did you know Cost of Living Adjustment, also known as COLA, is determined based off of inflation?  In 2022, figures point to at least a 6% increase, meaning military retirees and disabled veterans could see their monthly checks go up from $100 to $200 or more. If the increase does happen, it will be the largest increase seen in veteran pay since 1983.

            

SNAP Benefits

Did you know the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans in 2015 found of those who were homeless or at-risk of being homeless, 50 percent experienced food insecurity?  Census Bureau data indicates about 1.3 million veterans use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.