Meeting criteria may make you eligible for beneficiary travel benefits

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— (Source: VA health care fact sheet, February 2008)

If you meet the criteria below, you may be eligible for VA beneficiary travel benefits associated with obtaining VA health care services. In most cases, travel benefits are subject to a deductible.

Deductibles do not apply for compensation and pension examinations and for travel by an ambulance or a specially equipped van.

You qualify if:

1. You have a service-connected (SC) rating of 30 percent or more, or

2. You are traveling for treatment of an SC condition, or

3. You receive a VA pension, or

4. Your income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate, or

5. You are traveling for a scheduled compensation or pension examination

You qualify for Special Mode Transportation (Ambulance, wheelchair van etc.) if:

1. Your medical condition requires an ambulance or a specially equipped van, and

2. You meet one of the eligibility criteria in 1 through 4 above, and

3. The travel is pre-authorized (authorization is not required for emergencies if a delay would be hazardous to life or health)

Note: OEF/OIF Combat Veterans must meet one of the qualifying eligibilities or conditions noted above.

The mileage rate for general travel is 28.5 cents per mile

Scheduled appointments qualify for round-trip mileage. Unscheduled visits may be limited to return mileage only.

Deductible: $7.77 one-way ($15.54 round trip)

• Deductible requirement is subject to a monthly cap of $46.62. Upon reaching $46.62 in deductibles, travel payments made for the balance of that particular month will be free of deductible charges.

• Veterans whose projected income in the year of application will not exceed the applicable VA pension rate may request a waiver from the deductible requirement.

NOTE: Mileage reimbursement claims for travel before Feb. 1, 2008, will be processed at the previous rates of 11 cents a mile for travel in relation to health care and 17 cents a mile for recalls due to an insufficient lab, EKG, X-ray, etc. in relation to a Compensation and Pension examination ("Convenience of the Government") with deductibles of $3 per one-way trip; $6 for a round-trip; with a maximum of $18 per calendar month.

This supersedes Fact Sheet 16-2, dated April 2007. Local Reproduction Authorized

Moving Wall Scholarship

This scholarship is available for seniors and/or juniors this spring.

The scholarship will be awarded by winning the essay contest - 500 words - on "What the Moving Wall means to me."

The Moffat County High School English Department, through Sylvia Duncan, will administer the program at the school. A team of teachers will select finalists from all the entries submitted. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

Those finalists will present their entry at the American Legion and VFW meetings in April. Those service organizations will select the winner based on their written and oral presentations.

The scholarship will be presented at the May Awards night. The winning essay then will be submitted to the Colorado Veteran and The American Legion Observer along with pictures. The recipient also will be asked to be the featured speaker at the Memorial Day services at the Craig cemetery May 26.

Office closure

Craig Telehealth Clinic will be closed for Presidents Day on Monday.

As a continuing heads up, the VSO office will be closed March 13 through March 25. Transport will continue, but with a reduced schedule. We are working with the medical appointment scheduler at Grand Junction's VAMC to accomplish this.

Chris Criswell

Thanks for your reply in the Feb. 7 Daily Press. I wrote my "view" to get conversation going. Glad to see that someone else is out there cleaning up snow for those who can't or need the service.

I did stretch the facts in my article, Mom is really 85, but it wasn't my "gripe" that I was taking her around; it was that while downtown we couldn't get her out of the vehicle without being in a snow bank or the traffic lanes.

Guess that solution is to go to the box stores. The other, I guess for all of us, as the printed sweatshirts state, is "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it." And if the snows continue, our last request might very well have to be "Can we declare a Snow Day?"

For information about these programs and/or other veterans' benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only. Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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