VA, tribe host Taos Pueblo claims event


On Saturday (April 14), the Veterans Administration and the Taos Pueblo Tribal Secretary will host an event focused on identifying and assisting veterans who may have presumptive disabilities and be eligible for a VA pension claim. A presumptive disability is a condition that the agency presumes is related to military service although the condition may first appear after discharge from the military. 

Some of the qualifying conditions for veterans to receive compensation include esophageal cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, renal toxicity, female infertility, scleroderma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, miscarriage and neurobehavioral effects.

Eligible family members of veterans may also qualify to have reimbursed the out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred from the treatment of qualifying health conditions after all other health insurance is applied. In addition, spouses may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation when a veteran dies as a result of these presumptive disabilities.

Throughout 2018, the VA is launching a nationwide campaign to roll out veteran disability enrollment claim events collaboratively with 21 tribal communities, including Taos Pueblo. The campaign is called “Your Service. Our Mission: Bringing Benefits Home.” 

“The VA realizes that reaching these veterans could have a direct, tangible impact on the lives of thousands of previously unreached veterans and their spouses,” according to a statement from the agency and Taos Pueblo. 

“With the focus on veterans with presumptive disabilities and those who are pension eligible, VA is hopeful we can help Indian Country veterans access the full range of benefits they have courageously earned through their service,” said Stephanie Birdwell, director, VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations.

During the free event, health information and other benefits will be available, provided by the New Mexico VA Health Care System, VHA Vet Center and VBA Native American Direct Loan Program and others. VA staff will review claims on the spot, with the goal of completing the claim theh same day.

Contact Lorae HoMana Pawiki at (928) 776-5306 and or Antonio Mondragon at (575)744-0833 and for additional information.