One obstacle faced by many disabled veterans is the ability to drive. A disability can turn the relatively simple task of operating a vehicle into a challenge. Not only does this make daily life far more difficult, it limits personal freedom. Options are available to help address this sometimes overlooked need among veterans. If you have a service-connected disability, you may be able to receive compensation or other benefits through Veterans Affairs. These programs can restore your mobility by helping with the basic necessity of personal transportation.
First, consider the requirements to qualify for these benefits. It is important to note that this program is open to both veterans and service members who are eligible. Your disability has to be service-connected (that is, related to your military service). A New Orleans veterans disability attorney can answer any questions you may have about this requirement. Your disability must also fall under one of the conditions below.
One or more of these must be true. You have:
- Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both of your feet; or
- Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both of your hands; or
- Permanent decreased vision in both of your eyes. This means 20/200 vision or less in your better eye with glasses. It can also mean greater than 20/200 vision, but with a visual field defect. The defect must have reduced your peripheral vision to 20 degrees or less in your better eye; or
- Severe burn injury; or
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); or
- Ankylosis in one or both of your knees or hips. This, however, only qualifies you for an adaptive-equipment grant.
There are two basic types of disability benefits available to eligible veterans or servicemembers:
- A one-time payment not exceeding $21,058.69 to help you buy a specially equipped automobile.
- For some claimants, one or more adaptive-equipment grants. These are used to modify a vehicle so it has certain features to make driving easier. These features include power steering, brakes, seats, and windows. Also included are lift equipment to help you get into and out of your vehicle.
Your Veterans Disability Attorney Can Explain the Current Rates for Special Allowances
To obtain these benefits, it is important that you first file a claim and be approved for disability compensation. This must be done prior to purchasing a vehicle or adaptive equipmenxt. Either grant can be applied for and used before or after discharge from the military. Remember, your disability must be considered service-connected under current laws and regulations. Speak to a veterans benefits attorney about how to file a claim for disability compensation.
There are also some specific steps concerning the one-time vehicle payment and special adaptive equipment. For the one-time vehicle payment, complete VA Form 21-4502 (Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment). The VA pays the seller of the vehicle directly.
As for the adaptive equipment grant, you need to complete VA Form 10-1394 (Application for Adaptive Equipment – Motor Vehicle. For compensation, the VA either pays you or pays the seller of the equipment directly.
Your New Orleans Veterans Benefits Attorney Can Help Apply For And Receive These Benefits
Driving is an integral part of life for almost everyone. After a disabling injury, one of the concerns that veterans and service members have is being able to drive again. Fortunately, Veterans Affairs has responded by making these benefits programs available. However, paperwork and eligibility requirements can be difficult to navigate. Turn to the trusted, dedicated attorneys at Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC to help get you behind the wheel again.