Oklahoma's Number One Ranking for Disabled Veterans

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By Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, and Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso

Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, and Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, House and Senate Chairs of the Oklahoma Legislative Veterans Caucus, today applauded the hard work of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA), as well as numerous veteran service organizations, who worked to make Oklahoma number one among the 50 states for veterans, per capita, in receipt of federal, service-connected disability benefits.

“Often times disabled veterans either don’t know what resources are available to them, or choose not to ask for help,” Steagall said. “Here in Oklahoma, the ODVA along with our many excellent veteran service organizations have done a great job supporting our disabled veterans and breaking down the stigma that is attached to asking for help. We are not only the number one state for veterans who are receiving disability benefits, but in my opinion we are the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. It is my hope that our nation’s veterans continue to make Oklahoma their home once their time in the service has ended.”

According to the ODVA, out of approximately 300,000 Oklahoma veterans, there are about 100,000 veterans with some level of service-connected disability. Service-connected disability means that the federal VA has established that a veteran has a compensable injury or medical condition resulting from military service. For the 100,000 service-connected, disabled Oklahoma veterans, this reflects $2.4 billion provided directly to the individual veterans.

“These numbers reflect Oklahoma’s commitment to working with and for our veterans and service members to ensure that their transition from service to civilian life is made as seamless as possible,” Dossett said. “While these numbers are exciting and should be celebrated, our work is never done when it comes to supporting our veterans. I am committed to working with ODVA and our veteran service organizations on policies that continue to support both the physical and mental health of veterans so that these impressive numbers can continue to grow in the future.”

ODVA estimates that nearly half of the Oklahoma veterans who are eligible for compensation for injuries and/or medical conditions arising from military service have not yet applied. Oklahoma veterans who need assistance with filing a claim for service-connected disability are invited to call or visit on-line: (405) 523-4000; www.oklahoma.gov/veterans.

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