As a veteran, you’re eligible for various benefits from the VA. When you travel to your VA healthcare appointments, you may be eligible for travel reimbursements.
These benefits cover expenses accrued by using common travel carriers such as planes, buses, taxis, light rails, and, in some cases, includes medically-required special mode carries like ambulances and wheelchair accessible vans.
If privately-owned transportation is difficult to access or use, the VA wants to make sure our veterans have adequate means of transportation to their healthcare appointments without worrying about the extra cost.
To learn more about VA travel reimbursement, we’re exploring eligibility requirements, mileage rates, how to apply, and more.
VA Mileage Reimbursement Eligibility
There are some eligibility requirements that you’ll need to meet before you can claim these VA travel benefits.
To receive Beneficiary Travel Benefits from the VA you must meet the following criteria:
- You have a service-connected (SC) rating of 30% or more, or
- You are traveling for a SC condition, or
- – You receive a pension from the VA, or
- – Your income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate, or
- You are traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension exam
You can qualify for special mode transportation benefits including an ambulance or wheelchair van if:
- You meet at least one of the above eligibility criteria, and
- Your condition requires special mode transportation such as an ambulance or specially equipped van as determined by a VA physician, and
- The travel is pre-authorized (unless the transportation is an emergency and a delay waiting for authorization would be a matter of life and death)
VA Mileage Reimbursement Rate
Mileage traveled for your VA healthcare appointments are calculated in a specific way. According to the VA, mileage is calculated based on Bing maps using the fastest and shortest route possible.
Scheduled appointments that require travel will qualify for round-trip mileage. Unscheduled appointments will qualify for return mileage only. Also, reimbursement will be paid for mileage traveled to your closest VA unless a different location was determined to be necessary by your VA physician.
VA Travel Reimbursement Rates
Once the VA calculates your mileage traveled, you’ll be reimbursed using a certain rate. Currently, the VA mileage reimbursement rate for general travel is:
$0.415 or 41.5 cents per mile
There is also an available deductible of $3.00 for one-way travel and $6.00 for a round-trip. This deductible is subject to an $18 cap, six one-way trips, or three round-trips, whichever comes first, per calendar month. Upon reaching the cap, the balance for the month will not include a deductible.
However, the deductible may be waived if you are eligible for travel and you meet the following criteria:
- You receive a VA pension
- You are a non-service-connected veteran and your income from the previous year does not exceed the applicable VA pension rate
- You are a service-connected veteran and your income from the previous year does not exceed the applicable national means test income threshold
- You are traveling for a scheduled compensation and pension exam
VA Reimbursement for Travel – How to Apply
To apply for VA Reimbursement for Travel, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 10-3542, Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses.
You can request payment for your claim in the following ways:
- Make an appointment to visit a Beneficiary Travel Office
- Call the Beneficiary Travel Office (requires an additional step)
- Send the Travel Reimbursement Form to your local Beneficiary Travel Office via secure fax or mail
All applications must be sent within 30 days from the date your travel was completed or the date of notification that the beneficiary is eligible for travel benefits after a change in status.
Travel Reimbursement VA
As you can see, the VA travel reimbursement benefit is just another veteran benefit that you’ll want to take advantage of if you are eligible. While many veterans know that the VA offers financial assistance, they may not understand exactly what they’re entitled to.
As always, make sure to check the VA website for the most up-to-date information concerning VA Travel Reimbursement and talk to your financial advisor about how you can get the most out of your VA benefits.