Help from Veteran Advocate Groups Outside the System
Many individuals have found their greatest assistance outside the VA system. Below are a few groups you can go to. You will be assigned a case worker that will answer your questions about available benefits and do your bidding.The American Legion The American Legion is an organization for active military and those who have served during wartime. It is an effective group to assist you in the process of maximizing your benefits. You can become a member of the American Legion by going to www.legion.org. If you are not an internet person, you can reach the American Legion at (800) 433-3318. They will assign you an advocate.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) PVA is an excellent group to take you through the process. When PVA is overly busy, you will find they only take those with spinal cord injuries. PVA represents both service connected and non-service connected veterans. Below is a phone number list for advocates in different areas.
- Hampton Region PVA 800-795-1350
- Richmond Region PVA 800-795-3574
- Roanoke Region PVA 800-795-3575
In WASHINGTON DC
In WEST VIRGINIA
In NORTH CAROLINA
Even if your Doctor gives you a prescription and represents your transportation needs well. I would have him/her do everything in their power to prescribe or recommend adaptive equipment and then I would still go to the advocate groups for help. If you want to make even surer that you get your proper benefits, a lawyer is very effective. If you are considering getting a lawyer, you will find it cost effective to start with the advocate groups and see where that takes you before you retain a lawyer.
Finding the Right Van and Being Treated Fairly
For Veterans with adaptive benefits, it is not very easy to judge whether or not you are being treated right as you get a conversion van through the VA. Lets say you go into a mobility dealership with your 10-4502 form in hand and you are ready to pick out your van. You end up spending $8,000 out of pocket but feel good because it was a $50,000 van. Did you really do well? In reality it is hard to tell if it was a good deal because you have no reference point. Perhaps you just had a salesman that could put a good spin on things. For this reason, I would like to express some reasonable expectations for you veterans who are getting a van through the VA.
- The Mobility Salesperson, should be able to bring a van to you, both when you are first learning about the vans and when you are finalizing a sale.
- You should be able to get a loaner vehicle when your vehicle needs work at no extra charge for the first few years.
- For first time buyers with the Auto Grant (10-4502 Form), the mobility dealer should offer a way to get a preowned van with a new lowered floor conversion at no cost. The mobility salesman may even know how to make it so you don’t have to pay the Title, Tax and License.
- The mobility salesmen should charge only Dealership cost for the chassis.
If your mobility dealer meets this check list then you know you are being treated well.
As you go through this process, please know that you can call MITS of VA at any point in the process. You will want to ask for Steve Chandler, “The VA Guy” . Vehicle and Conversion Options, Financing Options or knowing what to do next with the Veteran Administration – These are all areas that he will help with.