Under the right conditions the Department of Veterans Affairs can provide assistance in the purchase of a vehicle and adaptive equipment for the vehicle. This is most often done by means of two separate grants, the VA Automobile Grant and the VA Automobile Adaptive Equipment special benefit.
Eligible veterans may receive a one-time Automobile Grant payment of not more than $20,577.18, beginning 10-01-17, toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance if you have certain service-connected disabilities. The grant is paid directly to the seller of the automobile and the Servicemember or Veteran may only receive the automobile grant once in his/her lifetime.
Certain Servicemembers and Veterans may also be eligible for adaptive equipment for their vehicles. The Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program permits physically challenged persons to enter, exit, and/or operate a motor vehicle or other conveyance.
Veterans are trained, through the VA Driver’s Rehabilitation Program to safely operate their vehicles. The VA also provides necessary equipment such as platform wheelchair lifts, UVLs (under vehicle lifts), power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls, left foot gas pedals, reduced effort and zero effort steering and braking, and digital driving systems.
Additionally, VA’s program provides reimbursements for standard equipment including, but not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and other special equipment necessary for the safe operation of an approved vehicle.
Eligibility: (Eligible service-connected Veterans who are non-drivers are not eligible for reimbursement for operational equipment)
- Veterans service-connected for the loss, or loss of use of one or both feet or hands, or service-connected ankylosis of one or both knees or hips.
- Veterans service-connected for permanent impairment of vision of both eyes that have a central acuity of 20/200.
- Non service-connected Veterans are eligible for equipment/modifications that will allow ingress and egress from a vehicle only.
Required Documentation to VBA
The following must be submitted to the VBA:
- Completed VAF 10-1394, “Application for Adaptive Equipment”
- Copy of valid driver’s license
- Bill of sale, invoice, lease agreement or registration form
- Window sticker
- Proof of ownership (vehicle title)
- Proof of release or disposal of a previously-owned vehicle
You must have prior VA approval before purchasing an automobile or adaptive equipment.
Automobile Grant Eligibility Requirements
1. You must be either a Servicemember who is still on active duty or a Veteran, AND
2. You must have one of the following disabilities that are either rated as service-connected or treated as if service-connected under 38 U.S.C 1151 or, for a Servicemember, the result of disease incurred or injury contracted in or aggravated by active duty:
- Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet, OR
- Loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands, OR
- Permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a certain degree, OR
- Severe burn injury, OR
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
In addition, VetsFirst, along with United Spinal, advocated for the VA Mobility Safety Act regarding automobile adaptations and the bill was signed into law at the end of 2016. VetsFirst and United Spinal continue to ensure that these provisions are implemented properly:
The new law directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that a disabled veteran provided an automobile gets the chance to make personal selections relating to that automobile. Minimum standards of safety and quality for adaptive equipment shall include:
- that the provider of any modification services be certified by a certification organization or the manufacturer of the adaptive equipment;
- any individual modifying an automobile be certified by a certification organization, the manufacturer, or the state;
- the provider of the automobile or adaptive equipment or of the modifications adhere to specified requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FederalMotor Vehicle Safety Standards.