VA seeking to identify veterans with disabilities

LAWTON – A “presumptive conditions campaign event” is scheduled for Nov. 30 at the Ft. Sill Apache Casino Hotel Convention Center in Lawton.

The free event sponsored jointly by the Veterans Administration, Lawton Indian Hospital and Ft. Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma is focused on identifying and assisting veterans across the southern plains region of Oklahoma who might be eligible for a VA pension claim.

A presumptive disability is a condition the VA assumes is related to military service, although the condition may first appear after discharge from the military, according to information posted on the Caddo Nation website.

The Lawton event will be held in-person from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but virtual sessions can be requested by veterans who are more comfortable meeting virtually.

“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 of the VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations.

In addition, spouses may be eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation when a veteran dies as a result of a presumptive disability.

Tribal veteran service officers will assist with filling out paperwork. Public health nurses will provide COVID and influenza vaccines. Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center staff will be available to enroll any veterans who are not enrolled in the Veterans Health Care System.

For more information, contact Mary Culley, VA tribal government relations specialist, at 405-626-3426 or

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