Eligible veterans may be provided mileage reimbursement or, when medically indicated, special mode transport (e.g. wheelchair van, ambulance) when traveling for approved VA medical care.
Mileage reimbursement is 41.5 cents per mile and is subject to a deductible of $3 for each one-way trip and $6 for a round trip; with a maximum deductible of $18 or the amount after six one-way trips (whichever occurs first) per calendar month.
The deductible may be waived when travel is in relation to a VA compensation or pension examination; travel is by special mode of transportation; or when imposition would cause a severe financial hardship.
Eligibility: The following are eligible for VA travel reimbursement:
1. Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are rated 30 percent or more.
2. Veterans traveling for treatment of service-connected conditions.
3. Veterans who receive a VA pension.
4. Veterans traveling for scheduled compensation or pension examinations.
5. Veterans whose income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate.
6. Veterans in certain emergency situations.
7. Veterans whose medical condition requires a special mode of transportation and travel is pre-authorized. (Advanced authorization is not required in an emergency and a delay would be hazardous to life or health.
8. Certain non-veterans when related to care of a veteran (Caregivers, attendants and donors).
Beneficiary travel fraud can take money out of the pockets of deserving Veterans. Inappropriate uses of beneficiary travel benefits include: incorrect addresses provided resulting in increase mileage; driving/riding together and making separate claims; and taking no cost transportation, such as DAV, and making claims. Veterans making false statements for beneficiary travel reimbursement may be prosecuted under applicable laws.
The American Legion Trust Fund for 2012-2013 has been approved. These funds are not yet available. I will send out notice through this column when funds have been released.
Ensure you apply for travel through the Veterans Administration at VAMC Albuquerque, whenever possible.
The Trust Fund Grant has directed a change of rules affecting payment of these funds when they become available. All requests for travel/lodging reimbursement must have the following: Printed copy of appointment, copy of receipt for gas payment and/or receipt of lodging payment. Payment from Trust Fund will be to amount on receipts: No receipt, no payment.
If a veteran is eligible for VA Travel payments, no reimbursements are authorized through the Trust Fund Grant.
For further information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590, and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll and for filing in the VSO office.
Durango VA Clinic
The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. Third Ave. in the old Mercy Medical Center.
The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:
American Legion Post 108. Second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
Veterans for Veterans. Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. (Buffalo Inn).
Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans. Every other Monday at 6 p.m., St. Patrick Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte, 731-1025.
Point Man Ministry (Veterans). Every Thursday at 9 a.m., Buffalo Inn.
Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: (970) 247-2214.
Farmington VA Center: (505) 327-9684.
The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.