The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) felt a new office was needed to bridge the gap between the VA and tribal veterans. The new Office of Tribal Government Relations will serve the approximately 200,000 veterans the VA considers tribal, including:
- Native Alaskans;
- Native Hawaiians; and
- American Indians.
Tribal veterans have a lengthy and notable history of service in this country’s military. Their honorable service entitles them to the full spectrum of benefits available through the VA, and the VA’s mission is to take care of this nation’s soldiers, including even hard to reach veterans.
The American government recognizes 800 different tribal governments, which means 800 different agendas to accommodate. This is the mission of the Office of Tribal Government Relations. Tribal veterans have long since received VA benefits, but the VA hopes to not only strengthen existing relationships with tribal veterans, but develop and build new ones.
Many Native Alaskan veterans living in rural areas have real problems utilizing their earned benefits. Despite having earned them, accessing health care and other benefits can prove to be almost impossible for those veterans living a significant distance from major cities, especially in Alaska.
The need for the Office of Tribal Government Relations became apparent once multiple VA officials spent a week in Alaska last summer as part of a planned trip. The trip was designed to demonstrate to the officials the hardships faced by many of these tribal veterans. The trip proved to be an eye opener, the needs evident, and the new office will strive to meet these needs.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.