View Full Version : The other little or unknown V.A. benefits

04-01-06, 07:50 AM
The other little or unknown V.A. benefits
By: MIKE SCHUSTER - For the North County Times

Let's discuss those little V.A. benefits that are often overlooked or veteran service-connected and non-service-connected benefits that many veterans don't know about, such as wheelchairs (electric and manual), clothing allowance, auto adaptation, eye glasses, hearing aids, bathroom appliances, orthopedic shoes and more. Remember that non-service-connected and service-connected veterans may have different eligibility requirements.

If a veteran is service connected at 10 percent for any disability, he/she may get free hearing aids and glasses from their local V.A. Non-service-connected veterans may be eligible for hearing aids if low income or they may need to pay three co-payments of $50 each for three visits (total $150) for high quality hearing aids that would cost thousands from private venders.

If a veteran needs a wheelchair, braces, canes, shower seats or such, again, the V.A., at no cost to the veteran, can supply these by simply asking the veteranís V.A. doctor to prescribe it.

One benefit that is often overlooked is the $641 a year for clothing allowance. A service-connected veteran who requires a brace or wheelchair for his service-connected condition or who has a service-connected permanent skin condition that requires creams or lotions that eventually wear out their clothes, may be eligible for this benefit, which is paid out once a year.

Blind veterans may be furnished a trained guide dog and/or mechanical or electronic equipment as appropriate. The V.A. will also furnish the training-including expenses for travel, food and lodging if required.

The V.A. will make a one-time payment of $11,000 toward the purchase of an automobile if the veteran is service connected for anatomical loss of use of one or both hands or feet, or defective vision in both eyes. My Agent Orange diabetic veterans who suffered an amputation because of their disease often overlook this benefit.

The V.A. has two adaptive housing programs to pay for alterations to the veteranís home if he requires a wheelchair, ramps or railings. The adaptive housing program for service-connected veterans can pay up to $50,000 to buy, build or adapt a home to the veterans needs. There is also a V.A. loan up to $33,000 to help defray those costs.

The V.A. has smaller grants under the Home Improvement and Structural Alteration program (HISA) for other service-connected ($4,100) and non-service-connected ($1,200) veterans.

As a veteran's service-connected conditions increase in percentage, the federal and state benefits increase. At a 10 percent rating a veteran becomes eligible for glasses and hearing aids, free access to all federal parks ---- that includes everyone in his vehicle when he goes through the entrance, 30 percent pay for dependants, and if needed, aid and attendance for a spouse.

When a veteran's percentage reaches 50 percent, there are no co-payments, there are free prescriptions, reduced California fishing fees and California park passes.

Often the V.A. is not aware of the local state benefits so the veterans need to verify their eligibility for state benefits with their local state or county veteran advocates. Summer is almost here, so lets all get our state and federal passes and enjoy life.

Mike Schuster is a San Diego County veterans representative and can be reached at (760) 643-2049 or email at mgs@cts.com.


04-03-06, 07:49 AM
Here is a funny about someone trying to get a vehicle allowance:

A male veteran with diabetes states he can not feel his feet. He is able to walk and drive a car. He wants a vehicle allowance. For what you ask,
well, he can't feel his feet when he has to stop his HARLEY. He wants special adaptions made to it.
I don't think so Mr. Veteran!

04-03-06, 08:06 AM
For a harley? hahaha