wheelchair lift.jpgVeterans with service-connected disabilities who need a specially adapted vehicle are now eligible for multiple grants over their lifetimes to pay for vehicle modifications.

The Advancing Uniform Transportation Opportunities for Veterans (AUTO) Act legislation passed by Congress with bipartisan support authorizes the VA to pay for vehicle adaptations such as lifts, power steering, modified doors, wheelchair modifications, and so on. Previously the VA offered a one-time only single use grant.

But there is a phase-in period. Those who have used a VA vehicle grant before but have not done so in the past 30 years are eligible for another grant. Those who have not used the grant yet are eligible for one every 10 years after receiving the first one. Under the old program, future purchases were not funded; veterans had to pay for all subsequent upgrades or replacement vehicles out of their own pockets.

Because a vehicle modified to meet the needs of veterans with disabilities can easily cost as much as $80,000 the new AUTO Act is a critical benefit for them, especially when you consider that the average lifespan of these vehicles is just about a decade long.  Over a lifetime the cost of specially adapted vehicles can be burdensome for veterans who have already given so much to their country. 

For details about eligibility and how to apply for benefits under the AUTO Act, read our blog post: AUTO Act Expands VA Program for Disabled Veterans to Buy Vehicles Adapted for Their Needs.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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