Tribal Veteran Representative (TVR) Training & Summit
OTGR provided a two-day training for Tribal Veteran Representatives and other tribal advocates for Veterans regarding Veteran benefits and services. Our office (OTGR), along with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs co-sponsored the event, which was hosted by the Confederated Tribe of the Colville Indian Reservation. Seventy people participated, 31 of whom represented Tribes within Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska.
The goal of the TVR training was to provide individuals within their tribal communities training to help Veterans access their VA benefits and services. Day one of the training covered the following VA benefits and services including: compensation for a service connected disability, special issues relating to service connected compensation, special monthly compensation, individual un-employability, dependency and indemnity compensation. We also discussed non-service connected pension, eligibility, aid and attendance, housebound benefits and survivor’s pension. Appeals process was reviewed, followed by an update from the Director, WDVA over lunch. The afternoon session included e-benefits and vocational rehabilitation, and education benefits. Day two included a variety of speakers on VA programs from VA Spokane and other federal partners. We recognize that TVR’s are trusted and respected individuals who work closely with Veterans in their community to provide assistance. Our goal is provide these individuals with the tools and resources that will assist them in helping Veterans and family members. We want to be valuable link in the assistance to Veterans within tribal communities.
American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans are the most underserved Veteran population within the VA. They have a higher rate of military service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. Often because of their Warrior traditions, they seek combat duty, yet they are the least likely to seek out assistance from VA. This is a major reason why the need for VA services like medical care, disability compensation and PTSD counseling is so great among this population.