WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director Carl Blake released the following statement today in response to Congress passing H.R. 7939, also known as the Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022. This legislation includes revised language from the House passed H.R. 3304, the AUTO for Veterans Act, and several veterans education provisions. The Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022 authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide an additional automobile allowance immediately to eligible veterans if 30 years have elapsed since the date they received their first automobile grant. Over time, the period would shorten to 10 years.
The Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022 would also change the definition of “medical services,” to include certain vehicle modifications like van lifts, which are offered through VA’s Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program. This latter provision would help ensure veterans with non-service-connected illnesses and injuries continue to receive help through the AAE program. A newly added provision would designate non-articulating trailers designed to transport powered wheelchairs, powered scooters, or other similar mobility devices as adaptive equipment.
“The average life of a modified vehicle is about 11.5 years, and costs tens of thousands of dollars to replace. These substantial costs, coupled with today’s inflation, present a tremendous financial hardship for many disabled veterans who need to replace their primary mode of transportation. Paralyzed Veterans of America has been a relentless advocate in securing the opportunity for a second automobile allowance for eligible veterans. We commend Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran, and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Mark Takano and Ranking Member Mike Bost for their bipartisan effort to make this benefit available. We also thank Senators Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, John Boozman, Roy Blunt, and Maggie Hassan, as well as Representatives Lizzie Fletcher, Dan Meuser, and David Trone for leading the original charge to expand access to transportation for disabled veterans.”
Blake continued, “Access to safe and reliable adapted vehicles is essential to the mobility, health, and independence of catastrophically disabled veterans, who need a reliable means of transportation just like everyone else. We now urge President Biden to quickly sign this vital bill into law.”
To learn more about PVA’s legislative priorities and help push more important legislation forward, join PVAction Force today and show your support at PVA.org.
Paralyzed Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or diseases. The organization ensures veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitors their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funds research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, PVA also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families, and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at PVA.org.
Contact: S. Oname Thompson
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America