Veterans may be eligible for payment or reimbursement for travel costs to receive VA medical care. Mileage reimbursement is paid at 41.5 cents per mile and is subject to a deductible of $3 for each one-way, $6 for a round trip, with a maximum of $18 per calendar month. Deductibles can be waived if they pose a financial hardship to the veteran. Two exceptions to the deductible are travel for a compensation or pension examination and travel by special modes of transportation, such as an ambulance or a specially equipped van. Beneficiary travel payments may be made to the following:
a. Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are rated at 30 percent or more
b. Veterans traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition
c. Veterans who receive a VA pension
d. Veterans traveling for scheduled compensation or pension examinations
e. Veterans whose income does not exceed the maximum VA pension rate
f. Veterans whose medical condition requires use of a special mode of transportation, if the veteran is unable to defray the costs and travel is pre-authorized. If the medical condition is a medical emergency, travel need not be preauthorized when a delay to obtain authorization would be hazardous. Consult your local VA Medical Facility.
For special mode transportation purposes, VA regulation 38 CFR 70.10(c) defines "unable to defray the cost of travel" as follows:
A veteran or other person shall be considered unable to defray the expenses of travel if,
- Annual income for the year immediately preceding the application for benefits does not exceed the maximum annual rate of pension which would be payable if the person were eligible for pension; or
- The person is able to demonstrate that due to circumstances such as loss of employment, or incidence of a disability, income in the year of application will not exceed the maximum annual rate of pension which would be payable if the person were eligible for pension; or
- The person has a service-connected disability rated at least 30 percent; or
- The person is traveling in connection with treatment of a service-connected disability.
For more information, please go to: www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/publications.asp and select the Fact Sheet entitled “Beneficiary Travel (BT) Frequently Asked Questions”.