Begaye Signs Bill to Increase Funds for Navajo Veteran Services

Feb 9, 2018

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye signed a bill this week to increase funding for the tribe’s veterans through Veterans Trust Fund. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’ll benefit housing and other assistance programs.

Navajo Code Talkers at a Veterans' Day parade in New York in 2016.
Credit Courtesy

The legislation doesn’t specify an exact dollar-figure increase for benefits, but will boost the amount of income earned by the fund’s investments from 4 to 75 percent that’ll go toward veteran services.

Navajo President Russell Begaye says the changes will allow more funding for veteran housing, education and burial costs, as well as food stipends and other direct hardship aid. It’ll also allow the tribe to reinvest excess money to grow the trust fund, which is currently valued at $130 million.

The legislation comes as the tribe works to reform its Veterans’ Administration. An audit last year found the agency’s housing program had been mismanaged for years, and poorly accounted for nearly $2 million in building materials. It was also responsible for shoddy construction of veteran homes.