Perhaps you require traveling to your compensation and pension (C&P) exam. You may be on your way to pick up a service animal or planning to attend rehabilitative care. Maybe you have recently been assigned a VA disability rating of 30% or more.
Did you know there may be VA travel pay reimbursement available for you? And it’s obtainable for a variety of different circumstances.
What is VA Travel Reimbursement?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is authorized to provide eligible Veterans and other beneficiaries related to those Veterans coverage for:
- Mileage reimbursement
- Common Carrier costs (i.e., plane, train, bus, etc.)
- Medically-necessary transportation (i.e., ambulance)
- Transportation to and from the VA or a non-VA health facility for examinations, treatment, and care
Am I Eligible?
A Veteran is qualified for VA benefits regarding travel expenses if they meet one of the following criteria:
- They have a single or combined service-connected (SC) disability of 30% or more
- Travel is connected with care involving said SC disability
- Receiving VA pension (and they do not exceed the maximum VA pension rate)
- Travel is for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam by a VA health care provider or
- Travel is to obtain a service animal
- Travel is related to rehabilitative care
- Cannot afford travel as defined by VA guidelines
Non-Veterans are qualified for travel benefits if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Allied Beneficiary if the country reimburses for travel costs
- Attendants, when they are deemed necessary due to Veterans’ mental/physical condition
- Beneficiaries of other Federal Agencies, if they reimburse for travel costs
- Donors or Support Persons
- Caregivers who are a part of the National Caregiver Support Program
What is the Current Mileage Reimbursement Rate?
As of 2022, the VA will reimburse round-trip mileage at 41.5 cents per mile if the travel is related to approved healthcare expenses.
What is the VA Travel Reimbursement Monthly Deductible?
The VA requires a small deductible before reimbursing you for travel-related expenses.
The current (2022) deductible is $3 one-way or $6 round-trip, up to $18 per month. If you surpass the $18 deductible, the VA will pay the full cost of your travel for the remainder of the month.
How Do I Apply for a VA Travel Reimbursement Deductible Waiver?
You can apply for the waiver if you cannot afford the required deductible for the VA reimbursement. However, to apply, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- By being low income (below the VA pension income)
- By receiving Pension VA benefits
- By receiving Housebound benefits
- By receiving Aid and Attendance benefits
Note: If you are currently a 100 percent service-connected disability Veteran who is also receiving Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits, you must request a waiver of the deductible.
What Do I Do Before I File My First Claim?
Before filing your first claim, you will want to take a few steps to ensure the process goes smoothly.
- Set up a direct deposit. For the VA to deposit your reimbursement into your bank account, you must set up a direct deposit.
- Keep receipts for all transportation and approved meals, and track your mileage.
- File your claim on time (within 30 days of the appointment or when you become eligible for reimbursement). See the next section to learn how to file a claim online.
How Do I File a Travel Reimbursement Claim Online?
Filing your VA travel reimbursement claim online may seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as it seems. There are a few steps outlined below.
- Set up a direct deposit
If you haven’t already from the previous section, you’ll need to set up a electronic funds transfer (EFT) to receive your reimbursement.
- Sign in to the travel claim portal
There are several different accounts you can use to log in, including:
- Go to your Beneficiary Travel Profile
Review your profile and update any information. If you are a caregiver, you will click “Proceed to My Veteran List” and “Select this Veteran.”
- Create a claim
You can do this one of two ways:
- In the “My Appointments” area, in the “Associated Appointments” column, select “Create Claim.”
- In the “My Claims” area, select “Create a Claim.”
- Add your expenses and receipts
- Make sure that all of your appointment information is accurate
- Attach any receipts, proof of attendance for non-VA appointments
- Choose an expense type and information about each expense
- Submit the claim
Review the Beneficiary Travel Agreement Notice and mark that you agree. After you submit the claim, you’ll find it in review status. Your bank should receive your payment within 3-5 business days. Remember, you must submit your claim within 30 days of your appointment.
If you need further instructions, the VA has a great guide.
Additional FAQs Regarding Travel Reimbursements
I don’t want to file online. Can I file a claim by mail, fax, email, or in person?
Yes! To do this, you must fill out a Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses, on the Department of Veterans Affairs website (VA Form 10-3542) and submit it by mail, email, or fax or visit a VA Facility.
I am traveling with another Veteran or using a free transportation service. Am I still eligible for reimbursement?
You are eligible if you can meet at least one of the following criteria:
- You’re the owner of the vehicle used to travel to the appointment
- You share a vehicle (i.e., a taxi) with other Veterans and pay for yourself
- You pay another Veteran to take you to the appointment
You will need to provide documentation of your expenses. Eligible veterans will be covered for these fees.
What if I need Transport by ambulance, wheelchair van, or other specially equipped van?
These types of transport to a VA health facility or approved non-VA clinic are covered as a special mode transportation reimbursement. You must meet the eligibility requirements listed above, but you can be eligible for this benefit.
What happens after I file my Claim?
The VA will deposit your reimbursement through electronic funds transfer (EFT) to your bank, unless you have decided to make other payment arrangements.
If I have further questions, who can I contact?
Call BTSSS toll-free call center at 855-574-7292 (TTY: 711)
You can also learn more about Veteran Disability Benefits through our website as well as VA federal government websites.
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