Federal Register – Recognition of Tribal Organizations for Representation of VA Claimants

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its regulations concerning recognition of certain national, State, and regional or local organizations for purposes of VA claims representation. Specifically, this rulemaking allows the Secretary to recognize tribal organizations in a similar manner as the Secretary recognizes State organizations. The final rule allows a tribal organization that is established and funded by one or more tribal governments to be recognized for the purpose of providing assistance on VA benefit claims. In addition, the final rule allows an employee of a tribal government to become accredited through a recognized State organization in a similar manner as a County Veterans’ Service Officer (CVSO) may become accredited through a recognized State organization. The effect of this action is to address the needs of Native American populations who are geographically isolated from existing recognized Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) or who may not be utilizing other recognized VSOs due to cultural barriers or lack of familiarity with those organizations. Effective Date: This rule is effective February 21, 2017. VA invites all interested tribal organizations to consider beginning the process of becoming a VSO.  For more information, please visit VA’s website: http://www.va.gov/ogc/accreditation.asp.