Reimbursed VA travel expenses and mileage rate
Read this page to learn what health care travel-related expenses we pay for and our current mileage reimbursement rate. If you're ready to file a claim for reimbursement, you can go to the AccessVA travel claim portal.
Travel expenses that we reimburse
We may pay for your travel to receive care at these types of facilities:
- VA health facility. We reimburse you for travel to the closest VA health facility to your home that can provide the care you need. If your VA health care provider decides that you need to travel to another VA facility for care, we'll reimburse the cost of travel to that facility.
- Non-VA health facility. We only reimburse you for travel to receive non-VA care that we’ve approved in advance, except in certain emergency situations.
We may pay for these costs:
- 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 when needed in some cases
You can submit your travel pay reimbursement claims through our Beneficiary Travel Self Service System (BTSSS).
Mileage reimbursement rate
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 closest VA or authorized non-VA health facility that can provide the care you need. This distance is often called “door to door.”
We pay round-trip mileage for your scheduled appointments. We may only pay return mileage for unscheduled visits.
Before we can pay you back for expenses, you must pay a deductible.
The current deductible is $3 one-way or $6 round-trip for each appointment, up to $18 total each month. After you pay $18 within 1 month, we’ll pay the full cost of your approved travel for the rest of that month.
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.
In some cases, we may waive this deductible.
More information about reimbursed expenses
Meals and lodging
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 based on these factors:
- 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.
Transportation to a non-VA health facility in an emergency
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.
Appointments at VA health facilities where you work or volunteer
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.
More information about the mileage rate and deductible
If your current mailing address is a PO box
You’ll need to establish an official place of residence. This is so we can determine your reimbursement amount. We may ask you to provide documentation to confirm your address.
If you change your home address while receiving care
If you change your address while receiving care (such as during a long hospital stay), 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.
If you go to a VA health facility other than the one that’s closest to your home
If your VA health care provider hasn’t determined that the extra travel is needed, you’ll need to pay for any added travel costs.
This includes paying for any of these added costs:
- Public or private transportation costs
- Special mode transportation
If you can’t afford to pay the monthly deductible
You may be eligible for a deductible waiver. 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.