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Rules for VAHC travel pay

Several times a day I try to explain the rules for travel pay to veterans.

Please read the following carefully so you understand your obligation to obtain travel pay. I’m sorry it is so complicated, but this is the fault of the VA Health Care system, not this office.

Travel pay

1. You should call the Albuquerque VA Medical Center (800) 465-8262, Ext. 2421, to see if you are eligible for travel pay from the VA. This would include trips to Albuquerque VAMC, Durango VA Clinic and Farmington VA Clinic. Some of you already know if you are eligible for this benefit from the VA. Or, you can also check at the Travel Pay Window on the main floor of the VAMC (Ask anyone where it is if you are uncertain of its location in the hospital. All VA travel pay comes from Albuquerque VAMC.

2. If you are eligible for VA travel pay, you may need to send in a pay voucher for trips to Durango and Farmington. They will eventually send you a check. I have the travel pay voucher forms in this office.

3. It is a good idea always to get a “proof of appointment” to show you were at a VA medical facility.

4. If you are not eligible for VA travel pay, then you need to come to this VSO office (not Durango) for travel reimbursement. Make sure you have a “proof of appointment”. We will pay your travel expenses by check from this office immediately. Sometimes we are temporarily short of funds and waiting for more money from the State of Colorado. In most cases we will pay your travel expense retroactively when we get more funds.

5. We are the payer of last resort. We want you to be paid by the VA first if possible. If not, then we will pay your travel expenses.

Motel accommodations

1. It is your responsibility to request accommodations from the Albuquerque VAMC if you need to stay over night for your VAHC appointments. There is a special form for this purpose I have in this office. Stop by and fill it out and I will FAX it to Albuquerque for you.

2010 Update: The Albuquerque VAMC is no longer providing motel rooms. They have the “Heroes Hall” or sometimes they can provide a bed in the hospital.

2. This office will reimburse you for your motel cost if the VA does not have rooms available.

3. Again, we want to be the payer of last resort as above.

Please do not ask for any travel money, etc. from Durango sources. Archuleta County veterans should seek this assistance from this office.

Remember our travel money comes from the Colorado State Veterans Trust Fund through a grant obtained through our local American Legion Post 108. It is not VA money!

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC van from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Mike Dunaway, 247-2198, and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays, call Harriet Mulnix, (505) 793-1782.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. 3rd Ave. Durango, CO 81301 (the old Mercy Medical Center). Phone number is 247-2214.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.