VA travel pay reimbursement
VA travel pay reimbursement through the Beneficiary Travel program pays Veterans back for mileage and other travel expenses to and from approved health care appointments. Find out if you’re eligible, and how to request reimbursement.
Types of reimbursement VA Beneficiary Travel offers
We offer 2 types of travel pay reimbursement for eligible Veterans:
- General health care travel: This benefit covers regular transportation, like car, plane, train, bus, taxi, or light rail.
- Special mode transportation: This benefit includes special types of transportation, like an ambulance, ambulette, or wheelchair van.
We also offer travel pay reimbursement for eligible caregivers.
File a claim for VA travel pay
How do I prepare to file a claim for reimbursement?
- Make sure you're eligible to receive VA travel pay reimbursement as a Veteran or caregiver. And determine whether you're eligible for general health care travel or special mode transportation reimbursement.
Check our eligibility requirements below
Find out what expenses we reimburse.
- Gather your receipts and track your mileage. Be sure to keep your receipts for all private or public transportation as well as any meals or lodging we’ve approved for reimbursement.
How do I file a claim for general travel expenses?
If you're eligible for general health care travel reimbursement, you can file a claim for each appointment using either of the 2 options listed below.
Be sure to submit your claim within 30 days of your appointment. If you become eligible for travel reimbursement after your appointment, submit your claim within 30 days of when you become eligible.
Option 1: File your claim online
Follow the steps below to submit a travel reimbursement claim for each appointment through our Beneficiary Travel Self Service System (BTSSS).
Go to our AccessVA website
The page will ask you to select your category to find the applications you can sign in with. Select I am a Veteran.
Then click on the Veteran Travel Claim Entry logo.
Note: Caregivers will also select I am a Veteran.
Sign in to the travel claim entry portal
You can sign in with your DS Logon or VA PIV account.
If you don't have one of these accounts, you can register for a sign-in partner account. Follow the instructions for your chosen account to sign in.
Go to your Beneficiary Travel profile
Once you sign in, you'll go to the portal welcome page.
Check the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions. Then, click on the Proceed to Profile Review button.
Note: If the button doesn't work, make sure you've checked the Terms and Conditions box. Then wait a few seconds and try again.
Review your profile and go to your dashboard
Save any needed updates to your personal, contact, or financial information.
When you’re finished, click on the Proceed to My Dashboard button.
Note: Caregivers will first click Proceed to My Veteran List, then Select this Veteran to go to the dashboard of a specific Veteran.
Create a claim
You can do this in either of these 2 ways:
- Go to the "My Appointments" area. In the "Associated Appointments" column, click Create Claim for the appointment you’re claiming travel pay for.
- Or go to the "My Claims" area. Click Create in the upper right corner. Then, click Create a Claim for the appointment you’re claiming travel pay for.
This will open the Initiate a Claim form.
Confirm or update the address on the page. Then click Create Claim and Add Expenses.
Add your expenses and receipts
On the Claim Expenses page, check the boxes to choose an expense type and follow the instructions to add information about your expenses.
Click on the Add Attachments button to add copies of your expense receipts.
Submit your claim
Review the Beneficiary Travel Agreement Notice and check the box to show your agreement.
Then click Submit Claim.
Note: If you need time to gather receipts or other information, you can choose to save your claim and come back later to edit it. But you’ll still need to submit it within 30 days of your appointment.
Download our guide for more instructions
Get step-by-step details for how to create an account, add appointments, file and edit claims, and manage your travel reimbursement profile.
Option 2: File your claim using VA Form 10-3542
Fill out a claim for reimbursement for each appointment
You’ll need to fill out a new Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses (VA Form 10-3542) for each appointment.
Download VA Form 10-3542 (PDF)
Gather your receipts and track your mileage
Be sure to keep your receipts for all private or public transportation as well as any meals or lodging we’ve approved for reimbursement.
Sign and date the form
Be sure to read the statements and certifications carefully before signing.
Submit your completed form and receipts within 30 days of your appointment
You can mail, fax, email, or take your form and receipts in person to the VA facility where you received care.
Find a VA health facility
If you mail your claim, we consider the postmark date the date of submission.
How do I file a claim for special mode transportation expenses?
For non-emergency transportation
Before using non-emergency transportation, be sure to contact your local travel office and get approval.
If we order the service for your transport
You don't need to file a claim.
If you order the transport and need to pay the cost
You must submit a request for reimbursement within 30 calendar days of the date of travel. You'll also need to include a copy of your paid invoice.
Note: If you don't have the invoice and proof of payment or your vendor is submitting for payment on your behalf, you must still notify us that you want reimbursement within the 30-day time period.
To file your claim
Note: Identify the type of transport in the “Travel by” field on the form and list the vendor and expense information in section 3. Be sure to sign and date the form.
You can mail, fax, email, or take your form and a copy of your invoice in person to your local VA travel office. If you mail your claim, we consider the postmark date the date of submission.
Find a VA location
For emergency transport
For transport to a non-VA facility for emergency treatment, notify us within 72 hours of transport.
To file your claim
Note: Identify the type of transport in the “Travel by” field on the form and list the vendor and expense information (if known) in section 3. Be sure to sign and date the form.
You can mail, fax, email, or take your form to your local VA travel office. If you mail your claim, we consider the postmark date the date of submission.
Find a VA location
What if I need help submitting my claim?
Please call your VA health facility's Beneficiary Travel contact.
Find the travel contact for your facility
You can also call our BTSSS toll-free call center at 855-574-7292. We're here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
What happens after I submit my claim?
We’ll deposit your reimbursement through electronic funds transfer (EFT), unless we’ve made other payment arrangements with you.
VA travel pay eligibility for Veterans and caregivers
Am I eligible for this benefit as a Veteran?
We offer 2 types of travel pay reimbursement. As a Veteran, you may be eligible for one or both.
Reimbursement type 1: General health care travel
This benefit covers regular transportation, like car, plane, train, bus, taxi, or light rail. You may be eligible for this reimbursement if you meet the requirements listed below.
This must be true:
You’re traveling for care at a VA health facility or for VA-approved care at a facility in your community.
And at least one of these must also be true. You:
- Have a VA disability rating of 30% or higher, or
- Are traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition, even if your VA disability rating is less than 30%, or
- Receive a VA pension, or
- Have an income that’s below the maximum annual VA pension rate, or
- Are traveling for a scheduled VA claim exam (also called a compensation and pension, or C&P, exam), or
- Are traveling to get a service dog, or
- Can’t afford to pay for your travel, as defined by our guidelines
Note: Veterans traveling for VA-approved transplant care are automatically eligible for reimbursement. If you’re a Veteran with a different special VA designation, you’ll need to meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
If you're traveling to get treatment at special disability rehabilitation centers, such as clinics providing care for spinal cord injuries, vision loss or blindness, or prosthetics rehabilitation, you may also be eligible.
One of these must be true. You:
- Need in-patient care, or
- Are getting temporary lodging approved by VA
Reimbursement type 2: Special mode transportation
This benefit includes special types of transportation, like an ambulance, ambulette, or wheelchair van. You may be eligible for this benefit if you meet the requirements listed below.
This must be true:
You're traveling for care at a VA health facility or for VA-approved care at a facility in your community.
And all of these must also be true:
- You’re eligible for general health care travel reimbursement, and
- A VA health care provider determines that your medical condition requires an ambulance or a specially equipped van for travel, and
- We’ve approved your travel in advance, unless the travel is for an emergency situation where a delay would threaten your life or health
More questions about Veteran eligibility
If you travel together with another Veteran
You’re eligible for reimbursement only if you meet at least one of the requirements listed below.
At least one of these must be true. You:
- Are the owner of the vehicle used for travel, or
- Share a vehicle, like a taxi, with other Veterans and pay your own fare, or
- Pay another Veteran to take you to an appointment
You’ll need to provide a receipt for your expenses. If you’re eligible for reimbursement, we’ll pay the mileage rate or actual expense, whichever is less.
If you use a free transportation service
You’re only eligible for reimbursement for any travel you may have had to get to and from your home to where you were picked up or dropped off by the service.
Free transportation services may include the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) system, VA Veterans Transportation Service (VTS), or other no-cost city or state transportation.
You may still qualify for other VA transportation programs that can help you get to and from your VA and VA-approved appointments. You may also qualify for transportation help from other organizations. Your VA health care team can help you explore your options.
These resources may also help you find transportation options:
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) transportation network
This organization provides transportation to VA health facilities for ill and injured Veterans across the country.
- The American Public Transportation Association
This resource includes links to thousands of local, regional, and national transit agencies.
- National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
This organization offers transportation resources and options for eligible older adults.
- United Way
The United Way offers many services to those in need, including transportation services. Enter your zip code to find services near you.
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) transportation network
Can my caregiver also get VA travel pay reimbursement?
We may pay for transportation and related lodging and meals for non-Veterans if the person meets any of the requirements listed below.
At least one of these must be true. The person is your:
- Family caregiver under the National Caregiver Program traveling to receive caregiver training or to support your care, or
- Medically required attendant traveling with you to support your care, or
- Transplant care donor or support person
We may also pay for care for an allied beneficiary when the appropriate foreign government agency has authorized their care, or for the beneficiary of another federal agency when that agency has approved their care.
Reimbursed expenses and rates
What travel expenses does VA reimburse?
We may pay for your travel to receive care at a:
- VA health care facility. We reimburse you for travel to the closest VA health facility to your home that can provide the care you need, unless your VA health care provider determines that you need to travel to another facility for care.
- Non-VA health care facility. We only reimburse you for travel to receive non-VA care that we’ve approved in advance, except in certain emergency situations.
This may include reimbursement for:
- Mileage driven to and from your appointment
- Bridge, road, and tunnel tolls
- Taxi and plane fares
- Ticket costs for public transportation, including train, subway, bus, ferry, or light rail
- Transportation by a specially equipped vehicle, like an ambulance or wheelchair van, when needed and approved
- Meals and lodging in some cases
Common questions about rates and reimbursement
We currently pay 41.5 cents ($0.415) per mile for approved, health-related travel.
We use Bing Maps to calculate your mileage, based on the fastest and shortest route from your home to the health care facility (“door to door”). We pay round-trip mileage for your scheduled appointments, but may only pay return mileage for unscheduled visits.
You can go to any VA health facility you choose to for care. But, if you choose to go to a facility other than the one that’s closest to your home (without your VA health care provider determining the extra travel is needed), you’ll need to pay for any added travel costs.
We’ll base your reimbursement amount on the distance from your home to the closest VA or VA-authorized facility that can provide the care you need. This includes paying for any added mileage, public or private transportation costs, or special mode transportation.
Yes. The deductible is $3 one-way or $6 round-trip for each appointment, up to $18 total each month.
After you pay $18 within one month, we’ll pay the full cost of your approved travel for the rest of that month.
Note: We charge this deductible because we’re required by law to withhold certain amounts from travel reimbursement payments. The money we withhold helps to pay for travel or medical care for other Veterans.
We may waive this deductible for you if paying it would result in a severe financial hardship. You don’t need to pay the deductible if you meet the requirements listed below.
This must be true:
You’re eligible for VA travel pay reimbursement.
And at least one of these must also be true. You’re:
- Receiving a VA pension, or
- Traveling for a scheduled VA claim exam, or
- A non-service-connected Veteran, and your income last year was below the maximum annual VA pension rate, or
- A non-service-connected Veteran, and what you expect to earn this year doesn’t exceed our maximum annual VA pension rate, or
- A service-connected Veteran, and your income last year falls below the VA national income limit for health care benefits and prescriptions, or
- A service-connected Veteran and what you expect to earn this year doesn’t exceed our national income limit for health care benefits and prescriptions
If we determine that you qualify for a waiver, we’ll automatically waive your deductible. You can also request a waiver in person or in writing.
Note: We consider Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits for 100% service-connected Veterans to be special monthly compensation and not a VA pension.
In some cases, we may reimburse you for the actual cost, up to 50% of the local government employee rate, for meals or lodging. You’ll need to provide all receipts.
We determine the need for meals and lodging on a case-by-case basis based on:
- Your medical condition, and
- How far you need to travel for care, and
- Other circumstances
Except in certain unusual cases, you can only get this reimbursement if we approve it before you travel. We won’t reimburse you for lodging or meals if you chose to stop or take a less direct route to a VA or VA-authorized health facility.
More questions about specific needs
You’ll need to establish an official place of residence. This is so we can determine your reimbursement amount based on the distance from your home to the closest VA or VA-authorized health facility that can provide the care you need. We may ask you to provide documentation confirming your home address.
We’ll reimburse you for your return trip home. But we’ll base your reimbursement on the distance between your new home and the VA health facility closest to your new home that could have provided the care you needed.
For example: If you lived in Baltimore, Maryland, when you entered a VA hospital for care, but then changed your home address to Detroit, Michigan, during your hospital stay, we’d base your reimbursement on the distance from your new Detroit home to the closest VA or VA-approved facility that could have provided your care.
We can provide travel in certain emergency situations.
If you have an emergency while receiving care at a VA health facility and the facility can’t provide the care you need
We may pay for your transport to a non-VA facility for emergency treatment and back to the VA facility. As long as we’ve approved the care at the non-VA facility, we’ll pay for this transportation even if you’re not eligible for VA travel pay.
If you have an emergency and you’re anywhere other than at a VA health facility
We may pay for your transport to a non-VA facility for emergency treatment. Contact your local facility within 72 hours of the emergency transport to determine your specific eligibility.
If you’re a Veteran and a VA employee who’s eligible for reimbursement, or if you’re a compensated work therapy patient
We’ll reimburse you for travel to and from your scheduled appointments. This includes appointments scheduled on a day when you’re working at the same VA health facility. For unscheduled appointments, we may reimburse you for one-way travel if you’re seen as a Veteran and not an employee.
If you’re a volunteer
You’re eligible for travel pay whether or not you volunteer on the same day as your appointment.