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Native American Veteran Benefits

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The Kanza Health Clinic hosted a Native American veteran benefits event at the Johnnie Ray McCauley Community Center on Friday. The event allowed veterans of all ages to sign up for Veteran Affairs medical service and learn about benefits for which they are eligible.

“The reason why we’re here today is to let veterans know what services are available to them and give them the option to sign up for benefits,” said Candy Klumpp of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “If a veteran isn’t signed up and goes to the clinic for care, then they can’t get benefits.”

Klumpp said that this was part of a bigger effort nationwide to reach out to Native American veterans.

Klumpp refers veterans to specialists who can provide individual veterans with care they need.

“If there’s any problem, I can follow up,” she said. “I’ve already had four or five that I will follow up with.”

Klumpp once received a call from a decorated veteran whose family couldn’t care for him. His wife was elderly and others couldn’t be there regularly. He didn’t feel the nursing home would be right for him.

“We were able to bring him to palliative care,” Klumpp said.

The palliative care unit provides inpatient care for those with limiting ailments. The patient-to-nurse ratio is two to one.

Klumpp said that arrangements can be made for traditional tribal ceremonies for the patient.

“The spiritual leader or holy man or medicine man from the tribe does the ceremony. The spiritual leader takes care of everything. He decides what happens,” she said.

Veterans had the chance to register with Veterans Affairs health care. They can also apply online at va.gov. The process for having prescriptions refilled through Veterans Affairs online was explained. An eligible veteran can do this once he or she is established with a doctor.

Representatives from the Veterans Affairs regional office in Muskogee explained a variety of veteran benefits. They answered questions from a few veterans about disability compensation.

They also detailed burial assistance provided by Veterans Affairs. All veterans who left with honorable service receive a minimum amount. Veterans are entitled to a casket, flag, headstone and marker. They can be buried in a national cemetery. The headstone can be delivered at no cost anywhere in the world.

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