WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) – ranking member and chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) – today introduced legislation that will increase reimbursement rates for veterans who must travel to receive medical care provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) will introduce companion legislation in the House.
In response to high inflation, the Veterans Medical Mileage Adjustment Act of 2022 would increase the reimbursement rate for the Beneficiary Travel Program for eligible veterans who have to travel more than seven miles for VA-related health care.
“Inflation and rising costs have resulted in more and more veterans shouldering additional costs when traveling to receive health care provided by the VA,” said Sen. Moran. “Raising reimbursement rates will help keep the Beneficiary Travel Program relevant and make certain travel-related costs are not inhibiting our veterans from receiving the care they deserve.”
“For Montana veterans living in rural or remote areas, getting to a VA health care appointment can mean driving dozens of miles each way to their nearest facility,” said Sen. Tester. “Increasing the mileage reimbursement rate will ensure VA benefits are keeping pace with rising transportation costs, so veterans can continue accessing their earned care—no matter where they live.”
“With gas prices in California up over two dollars in the last few years, traveling is more expensive than ever,” said Congressman LaMalfa. “While some Californians try to make ends meet by cutting back on driving or other necessities, rural veterans seeking medical treatments have few options. They rely on hospitals and clinics located far from their home. We shouldn’t force our veterans to shoulder more and more of this cost because Washington has abandoned a reasonable energy policy. This legislation will increase the mileage reimbursement rate to protect our veterans from government-created inflation.”
This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
Additionally, this legislation is endorsed by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Wounded Warrior Project.
The Veterans Medical Mileage Adjustment Act of 2022 would:
- Increase the VA mileage reimbursement rate from $0.415 to $0.455 per mile.
- Help cover the out-of-pocket expenses veterans and their caregivers incur when scheduled health care of medical disability examinations require them to travel more than seven miles, or more than 14 miles round trip.
- Incorporate the findings of the annual Internal Revenue Service study on transportation costs showing an increase in fuel, insurance, maintenance, depreciation and other costs to lessen the burden on veterans and caregivers.
- Apply the increase to any veteran or caregiver currently eligible for the Beneficiary Travel reimbursement benefit for travel that occurs after enactment of the Veterans Medical Mileage Adjustment Act of 2022.