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May 24, 2014

Study finds OK ninth best state for military retirees

CHICKASHA — Oklahoma was ranked the ninth best state for military retirees in a study by Wallethub.com.

The study looked at issues related to housing costs, the economic environment or job opportunities for veterans, quality of life and health care.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Public Information Officer Shane Faulkner said more than 3,000 veterans live in Grady County.

Faulkner said the proximity of Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill makes it easy for Oklahoma veterans to take advantage of cheaper shopping on the bases.

Approximately 340,395 veterans lived in Oklahoma as of September 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Of the 340,395 veterans in Oklahoma at the time, 119,375 served during the Vietnam era,  107,951 during the Gulf War, 77,692 during peace time, 30,589 during the Korean conflict, and 17,803 in World War II.

"I'm from Oklahoma, I've lived here my entire life, and Oklahoma loves its veterans," Faulkner said.

In the central Oklahoma area, Kindred Hospital in Oklahoma City accepts Tricare, which provides health plans for veterans, according to humana-military.com.

Oklahoma veterans who were permanently disabled for service-connected reasons are eligible for a sales tax exemption, excise tax exemption and property tax exemption, according to an ODVA report.

Veterans also receive free admission to state-owned and operated parks and museums upon showing proof of veteran status, according to ODVA.

Oklahoma veterans who served 90 days of wartime service, have lived in the state for more than one year, temporarily injured or financially impacted because of illness, death or disaster can also apply for financial assistance.

For questions about benefits, veterans can call 888-655-2838.

Oklahoma has Veterans Centers in Ardmore, Claremore, Clinton, Lawton, Norman, Sulphur and Talihina.

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