The VA Is Finally Moving Its Travel Reimbursement System Online

Jim Absher

The Department of Veterans Affairs is making it easier for veterans and eligible beneficiaries to submit travel claims for traveling to receive medical care.

Currently, the VA will reimburse the following groups for traveling to receive medical care at a VA facility, or for VA-approved care at a private facility:

  1. Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated at 30% or more;
  2. Veterans traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition;
  3. Veterans receiving a VA pension;
  4. Veterans traveling for scheduled compensation or pension examinations;
  5. Veterans whose income does not exceed the maximum VA pension rate;

Veterans in the above categories and some traveling companions may be reimbursed 41.5 cents per mile for qualifying travel. The reimbursement usually changes annually based on inflation. Those who do get reimbursed for qualifying travel normally also have a deductible amount of $3 for a one way trip or $6 for a round trip, with a maximum of $18 per calendar month. That means if you travel a roundtrip of 20 miles to reach your VA appointments you would be reimbursed $2.30 ($8.30 for a 20 mile round trip minus the $6 deductible). However, these deductibles can be waived if they cause a financial hardship to the veteran.

Tolls, parking and the cost of public transportation are also reimbursed. Veterans who must travel with an attendant may also be reimbursed for their companion's travel in certain circumstances.

Currently, those seeking reimbursement for medical travel must file their travel claims using a paper form or through specially designated kiosks at VA medical centers. After the online filing mode is made available the kiosks will be phased out, however hardcopy travel claims may still be used.

Beginning on July 13, the following locations will have online travel claim filing available::

  • Bay Pines
  • Houston
  • Kansas City
  • Minneapolis
  • Salt Lake City

By the end of November, the VA electronic travel claim program should be available nationwide.

Eligible veterans and beneficiaries will be able to visit VA's AccessVA website to file their claims.The new program will be known as the Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System or BTSSS. The program promises to speed payments and cut down on errors that occur when using paper travel claims.

"VA is working diligently to find new ways to innovate and simplify how we serve Veterans and their beneficiaries," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "Streamlining the Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System will help our Veterans get their travel reimbursements more securely and efficiently."

Stay on Top of Your Military Benefits

Not sure what your veteran health care benefits are? Keep up with all the changes and details. Subscribe to Military.com. and get all the latest updates straight to your inbox.