For many senior veterans, obtaining the proper resources and help to navigate life with physical and cognitive disabilities can be challenging. Mobility aids can be expensive, and some veterans can’t afford the right equipment, leaving many suffering from pain and immobility.
Thankfully, the Veterans Administration can support seniors looking for mobility assistance, providing them with life-changing aids and equipment. If you’re a senior veteran struggling to move freely and are in need of a mobility aid, read on for a step-by-step overview to obtaining VA compensation.
Visit your local Veterans Administration center
The first step in obtaining mobility assistance as a veteran is to take a trip to your local VA center for an initial assessment. During this time, clinic employees will help you register your information into the VA system, going over eligibility and authorizations to ensure you’re able to receive the care you need. Once you’ve finished your assessment, staff will give you a referral for a community clinician within the VA’s network, where you will receive a medical evaluation to assess your mobility needs.
It’s worth noting there are workarounds for out-of-network community providers. That way, if you’re unable to locate an accessible local center or your in-network physician leaves the VA network, you can still receive high-quality medical care.
Receive a clinician assessment
Once you’ve visited your local VA center and received a referral, you can make an appointment with a VA-approved clinician who will help you determine which aid is best for your needs. For those with severe complications and pain, a power scooter or wheelchair may be the best option to keep you comfortable and mobile. On the other hand, a simple cane or upright walker from suppliers like The Perfect Walker might do the trick.
Regardless of which mobility aid you and your clinician land on, securing the equipment could take anywhere from three to six months due to lengthy processing times. Once it arrives, make sure to check back in with the VA center to go over any questions, concerns, or additional information.
Once you receive your mobility aid, you may be entitled to additional accommodations, like lifts, specialized vehicles, or home modifications to ensure you can navigate freely. However, the verification process can be tricky and confusing, especially for seniors with cognitive disabilities. To streamline the process and avoid frustration, check-in with the VA office to see if you qualify for adaptive equipment. That way, qualified staff can walk you through the process and answer any questions on site.
Service-connected versus non-service-connected programs
When applying for mobility assistance, another aspect to consider is whether you need to apply for service-connected or non-service-connected programs. If you were injured during active duty or aggravated a previous injury while serving, you would fall into the former category.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a service-related condition or disability, you would land in the latter option. Though you are still entitled to mobility assistance as a non-service-connected member, accommodations and financial aid may vary depending on your condition.
Though obtaining mobility assistance as a veteran can be time-consuming and overwhelming, knowing the steps and seeking out VA resources can significantly reduce your stress. By contacting your local VA center, proactively asking questions, and applying for VA-approved grants, you’ll have access to a mobility aid in no time.