What Is the VA Automobile Allowance, and Who Can Get It?

What Is the VA Automobile Allowance, and Who Can Get It?

Most veterans are aware of the healthcare and disability compensation benefits available via the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. However, you may not be mindful of some advantages and financial aid programs.

Among the less-known programs offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the Automobile Allowance, which assists eligible service members and veterans in buying a vehicle or adapting it to their needs.

Keep on reading to discover if you are eligible, which benefits you can receive, and how to apply.

Read our article on the best auto loan companies you can utilize to purchase a car.

What Is the VA Automobile Allowance?

The Automobile Adaptive Allowance is a benefit provided by the VA to veterans who cannot drive due to a service-connected disability. In addition to the allowance, the VA offers an adaptive equipment benefit to help veterans with specific impairments.

Automobile Allowance can even help you buy a new car, and Automobile Adaptive Equipment can assist you in improving the vehicle you already have. If you have an existing vehicle and want to upgrade it to be more accessible, you should talk to the VA first.

Worried about qualifying? Here’s how to get a veteran auto loan with bad credit.

How To Qualify for the VA Automobile Allowance

You must be a service member who is still on active duty or a veteran to qualify for the automobile allowance. You must also have one of the following disabilities that is either rated as service-connected or treated as if service-connected under 38 U.S.C 1151 or is the result of a disease or an injury obtained while on active duty or aggravated by being on active duty for a service member:

  • Inability to use one or both feet permanently.
  • The permanent loss of the ability to use one or both hands
  • Vision impairment affecting both eyes permanently, resulting in:
  1. 20/200 or worse central visual acuity in the better eye wearing glasses, OR
  2. Central visual acuity is more significant than 20/200 if the peripheral visual field defect only covers a 20-degree angle in the better eye.
  • An injury caused by partial-thickness or full-thickness burns with scarring that inhibits the movement of one or more extremities or the trunk and makes driving difficult.
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Also Read: Different Types of VA Disability Benefits 

VA Automobile Allowance Amount

If you have specific service-connected disabilities, you may be eligible for a one-time payment of up to $22,355.42 (w.e.f. 10/1/2021) toward purchasing a car or other mode of transportation. The award is paid directly to the car seller, and the Service-member or Veteran can only receive the incentive once in their lifetime.

Check out the current special benefits allowances rates.

What Is the Adaptive Equipment Grant

Any veteran or service member who qualifies for the vehicle allowance is entitled to adaptive equipment unless they are blind, require a driver, or don’t have a valid State license or permit.

The veteran or service member may receive adaptive equipment benefits more than once, and they can go either to the seller or to themselves.

Note: VA will not pay for the purchase of non-VA-approved add-on adaptable equipment (equipment provided by someone other than the automotive manufacturer). For further information on add-on equipment, contact the nearest VA health care center.

There are many types of adaptive equipment, including, but not limited to:

  • Power steering
  • Power windows
  • Power seats
  • Special equipment to help the recipient enter and exit the vehicle

Before buying any equipment, contact the Prosthetic Department at your local VA Medical Center. Interested veterans can also request special driving training from the nearest VA health care facility.

How To Qualify for the VA Adaptive Equipment Grant

  • To qualify for adaptive equipment, you must also meet the disability requirements as stated for automobile allowances.
  • Ankylosis (immobility of the hip joint) acquired or aggravated during active duty is also covered.
  • The VA does not consider your service length in determining your eligibility. You may be eligible for adaptive equipment while still on active duty.

How to Apply for These VA Disability Benefits

A veteran or service member applying for an automotive allowance must have been awarded a service connection before purchasing a vehicle or installing adaptive equipment. Veterans and service members may apply for the grant before or after discharge.

A veteran requesting either grant must indicate that they are service-connected for at least one of the approved conditions.

Automobile Allowance

  • Complete and mail VA Form 21-4502, “Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment,” to your regional office.
  • Consult with a licensed representative or agency.
  • Go to a VA regional office and ask for help from a VA employee. The VA’s Facility Locator page can help you locate a regional office.

Please visit the VA’s How to Apply for Compensation page to learn more about applying for an Automobile Allowance and recommendations to ensure your claim is ready to be processed.

Adaptive Equipment Grant

If you are solely eligible for adaptive equipment (i.e., service-connected for ankylosis of the knees or hips), fill out VA Form 10-1394, “Application for Adaptive Equipment – Motor Vehicle,” and submit it to your nearest VA medical clinic. On the health Facility Locator page, you may discover your local VA medical institution.

Can You Purchase a Used Car With These VA Benefits?

Yes. Veterans and service members with specific disabilities may be eligible for a grant to help them buy a new or used car. These impairments must result from an accident or sickness sustained or aggravated while serving in the military. If you qualify for this grant, you may be eligible to receive it.

The VA provides the following services, which result in disabilities:

  • Medical attention
  • Examination
  • Occupational retraining
  • Work treatment with a monetary reward

Also Read: The Absolute Guide to Auto Loans for Veterans

How Long Does It Take To Get a Decision on the Application?

According to the VA website, they take roughly 131.5 days to make a decision right now. It often depends on the type of claim you file, how many injuries or disabilities you claim, the complexity of your claim, and how long it takes them to prepare the documentation necessary to analyze your claim correctly.

If you want your claim acceptance process to run smoothly, here are three things you can do:

  1. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure your claim is accurate and complete.
  2. If you don’t get a letter asking for it, don’t add any information to your claim.
  3. Make sure you don’t miss any exams that the VA has scheduled for you.

Online status tracking for your claim is now available.

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