The Beneficiary Travel Benefit
Last updated 3/3/2021 at 7:09am | View PDF
When you travel to get health care, you may be eligible for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Beneficiary Travel (BT) benefit. This 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 or a special mode of transportation (when it has been deemed medically justified by a VA health care provider).
Mileage driven using a private vehicle and transportation costs incurred by common carrier/public transportation (plane, bus, taxi, etc.) can be reimbursed by the VA. Use of a special mode of transportation (ambulance, wheelchair van, etc.) may also be reimbursed, as long as the above condition of being considered medically justified is met.
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.
• You are traveling for treatment of an SC condition.
• You receive VA pension.
• Your income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate (currently $12,907 for a single veteran).
• You are traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination.
• You are traveling to get a service dog.
• You can't afford to pay for your travel, as defined by VA guidelines.
You may be eligible for special mode transportation if:
• Your medical condition requires an ambulance or a specially equipped van, as determined by a VA clinician, and
• You meet one of the eligibility criteria in the first four items listed above, and
• The travel is pre-authorized (authorization is not required for emergencies if a delay would be hazardous to life or health).
This list is not all-inclusive; you may qualify for mileage reimbursement under other conditions. The complete list of who is eligible for BT is available on the VA's website at: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/BeneTravelFAQ.pdf. This site also contains other frequently asked questions (FAQ) with regard to travel benefits.
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.