Many veterans are unaware of the less well-known benefits, such as the automobile adaptive allowance, even if they often are aware of or participate in the VA health care system and get VA disability compensation for a disability related to their service.
The VA Automobile Allowance: What Is It? | Service-connected Disability
Veterans who are unable to drive due to a service-connected disability may be eligible for an automobile adaptive allowance. To help veterans with specific sorts of impairments, VA now provides an adapted equipment benefit in addition to the allowance.
If granted the VA automobile allowance, the benefit entails a one-time payment of $21,488.29, which, as of 2021, may be applied toward the purchase price of an adaptive equipment automobile or other conveyance.
The benefit may be used to modify a vehicle for special equipment.
Examples of Adaptive Equipment
- Power steering
- Lift equipment to enter and exit the specially equipped vehicle.
Who Is Eligible for Automobile Allowance or Adaptive Equipment?
Veterans and active duty service members with a service-connected disability that the VA identifies as affecting their ability to drive are eligible for the automobile allowance and adaptive equipment benefit.
At least one symptom on the VA-approved list of service-connected illnesses must be present in the veteran or service member.
What Conditions Are Approved for Automobile Allowance?
The veteran or service member must meet one of the requirements below to be eligible for an automobile allowance or adaptive equipment allowance:
- Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet, or
- Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands, or
- Permanent decreased vision in both eyes: 20/200 vision or less in your better eye with glasses, or greater than 20/200 vision but with a visual field defect that has reduced your peripheral vision to 20 degrees or less in your better eye, or
- A severe burn injury, or
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or
- Ankylosis in one or both knees or hips (Note: This condition is only applicable for an adaptive equipment grant).
How to Apply for an Automotive Allowance or Adaptive Equipment Allowance: VA Form 21-4502
Essentially, the veteran or service member must have earned a service connection before purchasing the car or installing the adaptive equipment in order to apply for an automobile allowance or an adaptive equipment grant. Service members may apply for these VA benefits before military discharge or after.
Veterans must state that they are service-connected for one of the accepted conditions when applying for either an automotive allowance or an adapted equipment allowance.
Furthermore, veterans or military service members must complete VA Form 21-4502, or Application for Car or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment, to request an automobile allowance for a specially equipped vehicle. If the grant is approved, VA will pay the equipment seller directly.
The VA Form 10-1394, or Application for Adaptive Equipment-Motor Vehicle, must be completed by military members in order to apply for the adaptive equipment grant. In exchange for this grant, the VA may choose to directly pay the equipment seller or the veteran or military member.
Timeline of Automobile Allowance VA Benefits
Fill out VA Form 21-4502 and send it to your local VA regional office to apply for the automotive allowance as a veteran or servicemember (RO).
The RO issues a decision either approving or rejecting the allowance. Furthermore, the RO must consider the veteran’s eligibility for the allowance as well as whether they had previously received it while making this decision.
If someone has already gotten the allowance, they will be turned down because it can only be issued once.
Section II: The RO will complete Section II of the VA Form 21-4502 that the veteran or service member filed if the RO has determined that the veteran is eligible for the vehicle allowance. Thereafter, the veteran or service member will then get this by a letter from the RO.
Section III: Upon obtaining the form with completed Section II, the veteran or service member may then acquire the car. They will complete Section III of the form and then return it back to the RO.
Invoice: The vehicle’s seller will then provide the RO with the invoice for the vehicle.
Last but not least, the RO finance department will finish paying the seller’s vehicle allowance after receiving the invoice.
Adaptive Equipment Allowance Schedule
Although there are a few significant differences, the timing and procedure for the grant for adapted equipment are generally similar to those for the automobile grant.
Application for Benefits
VA Form 10-1394 must be completed by the veteran or service member. A local VA outpatient clinic may provide the form, and its prosthetics department may send it on to the nearby VA RO.
Once the paperwork has been received, the RO will issue a decision. The RO will consider the veteran’s status for a service-connected disability, the date it became effective, and any special authorizations provided by the district VA outpatient clinic into account while making this decision.
Thereafter, the application will be returned to the VA outpatient clinic if the RO decides the veteran is not qualified for the adaptive equipment grant. The prosthetic department of the treating VA Medical Center or clinic shall complete the form and return it to the RO finance department for payment if the RO authorizes the grant.
Payment is complete once it is delivered to the veteran or the person who installed the adaptive equipment.
Do You Have Questions Concerning Adaptive Equipment and Automobile Allowance? | Contact Us Today
The staff at Paul Ehline Ride are ready to help you if you are a qualified disabled veteran and the VA rejected your application for an automobile allowance and an adaptive equipment motor vehicle.
Our lawyers assist veterans and their families in their efforts to obtain VA benefits and disability compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
If you’d like to check your eligibility for such claims, you can visit any of the federal government websites and follow the steps given.