Recognition of Tribal Organizations for Representation of VA Claimants

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is considering issuing a proposed rulemaking to amend its regulations concerning recognition of certain national, State, and regional or local organizations for purposes of VA claims representation. Specifically, the proposed rulemaking would amend VA’s regulations to expressly provide for the VA recognition of Tribal organizations so that representatives of Tribal organizations may assist Native American claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of their VA benefit claims. In addition, the proposed rule would allow an employee of a Tribal government to become accredited through a recognized State organization.

Indian Health Council commented that “it is in full support of this proposed regulation because it would reduce the barriers that Native American Veterans face when interacting with the VA system.”  Due to strong cultural heritage and lack of understanding of their needs and traditions and other pressing issues Native American Veterans and families miss out on their earned benefits.  The benefits of giving Tribal Organizations recognition for VA claims representation connects them to these services and to possibly other organizations that support Veterans.  more…