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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Veterans Affairs Beneficiary Travel Program: Questions and Answers

Lyn Stoesen
Presidential Management Fellow

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers a Travel Beneficiary Program to help alleviate the costs of travel to medical appointments for eligible veterans. Travel benefit eligibility for veterans is based on either the characteristics of the veteran, the type of medical appointment, or a combination of the two. Certain people who are not veterans, including family members or others accompanying veterans to appointments and organ donors, are also eligible for the benefit. Travel costs are reimbursed to beneficiaries, usually after a deductible. Costs covered by the program include a per-mile rate for travel in private vehicles, “special mode” (e.g., ambulance) travel in certain circumstances, and in some cases airfare and meals and lodging.

This report offers an overview of the benefit and includes a question-and-answer section with basic information about eligibility, the types of travel covered and how benefits are calculated, and how to apply for the benefit. The report also includes an appendix containing a review of major legislative and regulatory changes to the benefit since its inception in 1940 (P.L. 76-432) through the most recent changes enacted in 2010 (P.L. 111-163). Recent changes are primarily related to mileage reimbursement rates and deductibles. Another appendix details funding for the program between FY2006 and FY2011. Spending for the program has increased by 285% between FY2006 and FY2010, and the number of veterans claiming travel reimbursement has increased by 30% during that time.

Date of Report: March 25, 2011
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: R41626
Price: $29.95

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