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Clarification of veterans benefits for travel

This letter was received by this office and may have impact on many veterans receiving VA Travel. Please read and take note.

To: All Veterans

From: Patient Travel

Re: Beneficiary Travel Guidelines — Albuquerque VAMC NM

This correspondence is to provide clarification on the regulations related to veterans benefits for beneficial travel. Beneficiary travel is designed to reimburse eligible veterans for expenses incurred while receiving care from the VA.

Under current federal Guidelines 38 CFR Part 70.30(b)(1) reimbursement for travel is limited to travel for a scheduled medical appointment from the beneficiary’s residence to the nearest VA Facility where the care or services can be provided and from such VA Facility back to the beneficiary’s residence. If the veteran chooses to continue services at the further facility then travel will only be paid to the closer facility.

In addition, federal Guidelines 38 CFR Part 70.20(e) states that if VA determines that additional information is needed to make a determination concerning a travel application, VA will notify the claimant of the deficiency and request additional information.

Therefore, any patient traveling more than 50 miles on consecutive days will be required to give some evidence, such as a receipt, showing that they actually returned to their known residence and then returned the following day to the VA. The receipt must have the zip code of your home address and a time stamp establishing that you actually returned to your residence and then traveled back to the VA.

In accordance with this section of the Beneficiary Travel Laws, VA will request proof of residence at your listed home address when you make a claim for travel reimbursement. You must provide us with a copy of any two of the following that contain both your name and your physical address: Mortgage Statement, Electric Bill, Gas Bill, Cable Bill, Rent Receipt, Home Phone Bill, or a notarized letter from your landlord.

VA will request these proofs of address annually, and each time your address changes.

These guidelines will be implemented on October 1, 2012. After that date, we will be unable to immediately reimburse you for your travel until the required proofs of residence are presented. If proofs of residence are provided within one year, then a check will be mailed to your address or we will deposit the travel funds into your personal bank account.

We appreciate your help in keeping our records up to date, this will help insure that all VA correspondence, notification of appointments and all or your prescriptions get to the correct address. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

If you have any questions regarding your travel benefits, please contact the Beneficiary Travel Office at (505) 265-1711 extension 2421.

Bill Etchison

Chief, Health Administration Service

Trust Fund Grant

The Trust Fund Grant has directed a change of rules.

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. In addition, the Trust Fund will not pay past reimbursements on any travel made prior to funds being available, as it is not authorized by state law. Ensure you apply for travel through VAMC Albuquerque, whenever possible.

If a veteran is eligible for VA Travel payments, no reimbursements are authorized through the Trust Fund Grant.

Useful links

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 raytaylor@archuletacounty.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.

Meetings

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 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.

Important information

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.

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