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New travel reimbursement policy concerns veterans

A June 1 change in how veterans are reimbursed for traveling to their medical appointments has many worried. The Veterans Affairs policy change affects reimbursement for travel expenses.

Previously, any veteran who traveled to a VA hospital for care was immediately reimbursed with money the same day. Under the new policy, there are two options:

Veterans with a checking account that can accept direct deposits can choose to have their reimbursement deposited within 3 business days of submitting their travel voucher, or
Veterans without the option of direct deposit will receive a check in the mail in up to 10 business days, depending on how long it takes to mail it from the VA processing center to their home address.

The June 1 policy change is part of a larger update to the Department of Transportation's payment system to all veterans for disability and/or pensions scheduled to take place in 2013. VA officials are making the changes to address problems with fraudulent claims and misused funds, as well as concerns over the safety, security, and reliability of payments. 

Despite the change being touted as a way to provide more efficient service to veterans, it has raised concerns among many veterans organizations. Those veterans in rural areas, those who live paycheck-to-paycheck, or those who do not use bank accounts or have a place to receive mail will be at a severe disadvantage. 

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