Veterans Travel Reimbursement Increasing

WASHINGTON, November 17 - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate veterans committee, announced today that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will raise travel reimbursement rates from 28.5 cents a mile to 41.5 cents a mile, effective today.

Sanders said, "As a member of the Veterans Committee, I am very pleased to announce that the mileage rate for veterans travelling to and from VA medical facilities has been increased from 28.5 cents per mile to 41.5 cents. This increase should make it easier for veterans to get to their medical appointments. For 30 years the rate was 11 cents a mile, last year we raised it to 28.5 cents, and now it's 41.5 cents - so I think we're making some progress in that area.

"The cost of travel should not discourage our veterans from seeking the health care benefits they have earned through their service. In rural states like Vermont, this is an especially important issue. As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I will continue to push for even more improvements in veterans benefits."

Sanders fought in the committee for increased funding in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs budget to make possible the January 2008 travel reimbursement rate increase, the first improvement in 30 years, from 11 cents a mile to 28.5 cents a mile. Today, the VA raised the mileage reimbursement rate still further to 41.5 cents per mile.

The reimbursements are given to veterans traveling to receive medical care at the closest VA medical facility or authorized health care facilities.

Senator Sanders cosponsored legislation, signed into law this year which directs the VA in the future to tie the reimbursement rate for veterans to the rate the federal government workers are reimbursed for mileage.