Last updated 2/19/2020 at 11:57am | View PDF
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a Beneficiary Travel (BT) benefit. The benefit is provided to a veteran when there is a need to travel to a VA medical facility.
VA is authorized to pay an eligible veteran a reimbursement for either mileage, special mode of transportation (when is has been deemed medically justified by a VA healthcare provider). Mileage driven in a private vehicle and transportation costs incurred by common carrier/public transportation (plane, bus, taxi, etc.) can be reimbursed by the VA. Special mode of transportation (ambulance, wheelchair van, etc.) may also be reimbursed as long as the above condition of being medically justified is met.
In order to qualify for mileage reimbursement, one of the following conditions needs to be met:
• You have a service-connected (SC) rating of 30% or more, or
• You are traveling for treatment of a SC condition, or
• You receive VA pension, or your income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate (currently $13,535, for a single veteran), or
• You are traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination.
You may be eligible for special mode transportation if:
• You meet one of the eligibility criteria above, and
• Your medical condition requires an ambulance or a specially equipped van as determined by a VA clinician, and
• The travel is pre-authorized. (Authorization is not required for emergencies if a delay would be hazardous to life or health.)
The current mileage rate for general travel is 41.5 cents per mile; scheduled appointments will qualify for round-trip mileage. Unscheduled visits may be limited to return mileage only. There is a deductible for mileage of $3 one-way ($6 round trip). This deductible is subject to a monthly cap of $18. When the monthly deductible has been achieved, any further reimbursable travel is paid at the full rate with no further deductible required.
Ken Cruickshank, the Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County, is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. Contact him at the Veterans Services Office at 3348 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia; by phone at (559) 713-2880; or by email at KCruicks@tularehhsa.org.