Operation Independence is an awareness campaign to help Veterans understand and utilize their vehicle mobility benefits such as the auto allowance grant and the automobile adaptive equipment program. These benefits along with the assistance of the American Wheelchair Van Society can help a Veteran select and purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle that best fits their needs.
For Veterans to be eligible for any Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) or Veterans Health Administration (VHA) benefits, the Veteran must contact both agencies separately. Click on the links above to begin the process at either agency.
Veteran Vehicle Mobility Benefits
The Auto Allowance Grant:
This benefit provides eligible service connected Veterans with flat rate federal grant of (approx.) $20,000.00 towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. This benefit is paid to the seller of the vehicle and must be approved by the VA before the purchase. If you are a 100% service-connected Veteran, chances are high you will qualify for this allowance. The form that is used to apply is form VA 20-4502. Follow the instructions given with the form. Contact us to apply.
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program:
This benefit provides eligible service connected Veterans with funding (market pricing) for equipment and training to enter, exit and/or operate a motor vehicle. This equipment includes but is not limited to platform wheelchair lifts, kneeling systems, power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls and braking and digital driving systems. The form that is used to apply is form VA 10-1394. Follow the instructions given with the form. Contact us to apply.
Non Service Connected Van Modifications:
This benefit provides eligible Veterans with funding (market pricing) for non-operational equipment for entry and exit to the van. Issuance of equipment is considered medical and is not included as part of the Automobile Adaptive Equipment Program. The form that is used to apply is form VA 10-1394.
Each Veteran Health Administration location will have slightly different qualification guidelines. It is up to the Chief of Prosthetics or Prosthetics Representative at each location to decide if a Veteran meets the qualifications for a wheelchair van conversion (not the actual van). It is a generally accepted rule that Veterans who have received a wheelchair (manual or motorized), who have not received a prosthetic from the VHA, and who receive their medical care from the VHA (at minimum twice per month) will qualify for a wheelchair van conversion (not actual van) and/or other vehicle mobility adaptive aids. Want to find out if you’re eligible? Call and ask them for guidance; contact the Chief of Prosthetics or Prosthetics Representative of your local VISN. Contact us to apply.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Veterans with ALS are almost always granted 100% service connected status. Read more about how the VA helps Veterans with ALS. Once you’re ready to request benefits, fill out Form VA FORM 21-0960C-2 and fax it to your nearest VHA office. A list of VA Regional Office FAX Numbers can be found at www.benefits.va.gov/disabilityexams or obtained by calling 1-800-827-1000. Not yet in the VA Healthcare System? Fill out this form to enroll. Contact us to apply.
Disability rating less than 100%?
There are 22,300,000 Veterans in America. Brave men and women who volunteered to defend the American way of life are commonly thought to have the full support and backing of the United States Government charged with their health care. Veterans who have a disability rating of less than 100% and receive their health care at Veteran Health Administration (VHA) facilities may or may not be eligible for a wheelchair van conversion or adaptive equipment paid for by the VHA. Determinations are made based on need, funding and non-standardized regionally specific factors. The VHA does not provide financial assistance to purchase the vehicle chassis (actual van) needed for the conversion for those with a disability rating of less than 100%. AWCVS has worked with Veterans who need but do not qualify for a conversion, or who qualify for a conversion but cannot afford the full cost of a vehicle to convert. We are tirelessly working to fill this void. Stay tuned.
American Wheelchair Van Society helps Veterans
“U.S. Veterans made many sacrifices to ensure our freedoms. As a USAF Flight Medic with the United States Air Force, I transported American heroes from the battlefield to their homes. I saw first hand the debilitating traumatic injuries that confine once able bodied warriors to wheelchairs. I’ve also worked in many clinical settings triaging countless aging Veterans who have no idea these benefits are available to them. I knew then as I know now, our mission as Veterans will never end. I now have the honor of helping wounded warriors get a wheelchair van–a benefit they earned. The battle continues for them and we need YOUR help to continue our new mission here at home. And to my fellow Veterans; there is no fight we can’t win together–know that we will keep fighting to ensure every wheelchair bound Veteran in America has access to a wheelchair van!” said Raymond Gonzalez, Executive Director of The American Wheelchair Van Society.
Dealer partner network
The American Wheelchair Van Society Dealer Network, which is a national group of retail mobility vehicle stores, supports our initiative by working with disabled veterans, local Veteran Affairs offices and other Federal Government institutions to help expedite the purchase, build and delivery of a mobility-based vehicle.
Questions? Call us at (508) 901-9866 or fill out this form.