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Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Date Posted:12/21/21
This Story Expires on: 01/30/22
Volunteers lay wreaths on all 14,500 veterans’ graves in National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

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Date Posted:12/21/21
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GI Bill housing stipend protections enacted for vets whose classes were upended by the pandemic

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Student vets taking remote classes next semester will still get full GI Bill benefits thanks to new plan

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New Air Force Rules Allow Hands in Pockets, Slew of Uniform and Appearance Changes

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U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels visit Joint Base Charleston ahead of Air Expo

Date Posted:12/15/21
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Florida International Air Show postponed for 2022; Thunderbirds to headline in 2023

Date Posted:12/06/21
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Mail delays have prompted the Department of Veterans Affairs to extend some response times. (Courtesy of House.gov)

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Date Posted:12/03/21
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More Birth Support on the Way for Military Moms

Date Posted:12/03/21
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Biden closes Veterans Month by signing a series of VA reform measures

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Veterans Can Be Reimbursed for Travel to Medical Appointments
This Story Expires on: 12/31/21




By Jim Absher

Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay your travel expenses to medical appointments?

To be eligible for travel reimbursement, you must be meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. Traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition;
  2. A disabled veteran rated at least 30%;
  3. Traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination;
  4. Receiving a VA pension;
  5. Have limited income;
  6. Traveling to receive a VA-authorized service dog.

How Much Travel Will The VA Pay?

The VA will pay you a flat rate of 41.5 cents per mile to use your vehicle. If you take a rideshare, taxi or public transportation, they will reimburse you for the actual cost of travel. They also will reimburse you for tolls, parking and other travel costs.

For anything other than mileage reimbursement, you usually are required to submit copies of receipts. You either can scan these or take a picture with your phone.

Those who get reimbursed for qualifying travel normally also have a deductible amount of $3 for a one-way trip or $6 for a round trip, with a maximum of $18 per calendar month. That means if you travel a round trip of 20 miles to reach your VA appointments, you would be reimbursed $2.30 ($8.30 for a 20-mile round trip, minus the $6 deductible). However, these deductibles can be waived for financial hardship.

The VA also will pay travel reimbursement for an authorized family caregiver, under the VA Family Caregiver Program, or other medically required attendants.

In certain situations, the VA will reimburse you for specialized medically necessary transportation services like an ambulance, if required. For this type of transportation, you need VA pre-approval. Contact your provider for more details. The VA will also pay for lodging in certain situations if required.

The mileage rates and deductibles can change annually, depending on economic factors.

Filing A Travel Claim

The VA is trying to get everyone to file their travel claims online via its new Beneficiary Travel Self Service System, or BTSS. If you have problems filing online, you can file a travel claim at kiosks located in VA medical centers, help desks or patient services offices at many VA hospitals or local clinics. You also can file a hard-copy claim via postal mail.

On their YouTube channel, the Veterans Health Administration says in a video explaining the online filing system that those who file a claim online should see payment in 3-5 business days, while those who file other ways may have to wait up to 45 days for any reimbursement.

Accessing the BTSS system is done using your MyHealtheVet, DSLogin or by creating a verified account with the ID.me system. Once logged into the system, your VA appointments are prefilled, allowing you to submit a claim in just a few clicks.

Commenters on Reddit said that the new online system has been difficult to use. Curious, I checked it out myself, only to see that none of my past or future VA or civilian care appointments showed up in the system, and I still was listed as attached to a VA hospital on the other side of the country, where I haven't lived for years. But I’m sure that stopping by my local clinic or calling the VA-411 line at 800-698-2411 would probably at least point me to a way to get things fixed. And to be fair, most VA and civilian medical appointments have pretty much been over the phone or computer for the last year and a half.

However, some veterans who travel to a disability compensation medical exam are receiving mileage checks automatically from the contractor without having to file a claim with the VA.

Is it worth it to spend three hours filing a claim for $2.30? Everyone's situation is different. But if you're regularly dropping $20-$50 on an Uber or parking and spending three hours of your day in medical appointments, it may make things a bit less painful.



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