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Travel money available ... finally

I’m happy to announce we finally have some travel money available to reimburse veterans for their travel expenses to VA Health Care Appointments.

Veterans who do not receive travel pay from the VA (Albuquerque) should bring their proof of appointment information and/or travel receipts for reimbursement by this office.

Remember, our travel assistance money comes from a Colorado Veterans Trust Fund Grant, in cooperation with the American Legion Post 108 here in Pagosa Springs. It is not VA money.

All veterans are advised to check first with the VAMC Albuquerque to see if they are eligible for travel pay from the VA.

If they are not eligible then they can see me for our local reimbursement program.

Secondly, it is important that you provide proof of your physical address by a utility bill to VA travel money. You need only do this once for the record. If you do not provide residency proof they may deny you VA travel money, even if you are 100 percent service-connected disabled. Apparently some traveling veterans have abused VA travel pay policies by claiming they live long distances away, or multiple travel days for one actual trip, etc.

New for this year, we have a limited amount of “emergency” money available to assist local veterans with urgent financial needs. This would be on a one-time basis — for example, for a utility bill, food or clothing, gas, etc. It does not include any ongoing living costs such as rent each month, repeated money for vehicle fuel.

If you have need for this assistance please stop by and see me and I will present your need to our veterans’ assistance committee for approval.

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.