For many Americans, the ability to drive is key to their work, health and personal life. A disability can radically change your needs as a driver, requiring significant adaptations or a new vehicle entirely. Thankfully, many disabled veterans and service members may qualify for an automobile allowance or adaptive equipment grant.
Veterans’ benefits may assist with the purchase of a new vehicle
For some disabled veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will provide up to $21,488.29 to fund the purchase of a specially equipped vehicle. These funds will be paid directly to the seller by the government.
Is it possible to make changes to an existing vehicle?
For many, adapting an existing vehicle may support a disabled driver’s needs. In these cases, the VA may provide equipment to make that vehicle more accessible and usable, including:
- Wheelchair lifts and under-vehicle lifts
- Modified controls including hand controls, left foot gas pedals and reduced effort steering
- Door openers
- Physical modifications including raised roofs, raised doors and lowered floors
Power steering, brakes, windows, seats and other equipment can help disabled drivers operate a vehicle. Veterans’ benefits may also fund upgrades to these standard systems in a car.
Who qualifies for specially equipped vehicles or vehicle adaptations?
To receive veterans’ benefits to purchase or upgrade a vehicle, service members or veterans must have a condition that limits their ability to drive. ALS, decreased vision or peripheral vision, severe burn injuries or the loss of your hands or feet may qualify for adaptive equipment or a specially equipped vehicle. Ankylosis in the knees or hips may qualify you for adaptive equipment in an existing vehicle.
Because you must apply for these funds before you purchase or upgrade your vehicle, consider working with an experienced attorney to help write your application. They can help you get the support you need to stay on the road.