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Paralympic Veterans May Qualify for New Benefit

April 1, 2011, 08:00:00 AM

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Paralympic Veterans May Qualify for New Benefit

VA’s Partnership with U.S. Paralympics Expands with New Rule

WASHINGTON – Some Veterans in training for the Paralympics will be able to qualify for a monthly subsistence allowance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under a new program to help disabled Veterans more easily take part in competitive sports.

“Our disabled Veterans are models of courage, resilience and determination,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This new allowance will enable our disabled athletes to further their recovery by taking part in world-class adaptive sports.”

VA officials caution that not all disabled Veterans will qualify for the subsistence allowance, which will actually be administered by the U.S. Paralympics.

The allowance will be pegged to VA’s subsistence allowance for participants in a full-time institutional program under chapter 31 of title 38 of the U.S. Code. Those rates start at $554 per month for Veterans without dependents. The current rate table is available at www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/sa.htm.

Under the new rule, VA will pay the allowance to a Veteran with a service-connected or non-service-connected disability if the Veteran is invited by the U.S. Paralympics to compete for a slot on the U.S. Paralympic team or is residing at a U.S. Paralympic training center for training or competition.

“While in uniform, our service men and women are continually challenged to push themselves beyond expectations, both physically and mentally,” said Christopher J. Nowak, director of VA’s paralympic program. “Their motivation and desire to succeed doesn’t end with injury. Paralympic sports allow them to harness their competitive nature and push themselves beyond any perceived limitations.”

Applications for the allowance must be submitted through the U.S. Paralympics. The VA Paralympics Program Office will work closely with U.S. Paralympic Committee to ensure that Veterans who are eligible for retroactive payments are processed in a timely manner.

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