Veterans upset over benefit changes at VA

(Source: WNEM)

The new year brought some new changes to the way local veterans receive their benefits.

Veterans who travel to the VA hospital for appointments used to be reimbursed right away in cash for the mileage, but those payments will not come in a different method.

"In Saginaw now, we don't receive our travel pay anymore when we go to a VA appointment. Where as before we used to be paid right up front," said Craig Edgin, Army veteran.

When veterans like Edgin have to visit the VA hospital their expenses, including transportation, are covered. For years vets could get the money the same day of the appointment.

"Whenever you go to an appointment they pay you afterward. You'd get a sheet and take it to the pay window and then they'd pay you cash and then you'd go put it in your tank," Edgin said.

Carrie Seward, with the VA, said starting Jan. 1 the VA will no longer make cash payments at the travel pay cashier window. The change complies with new federal requirements.

The VA in Saginaw will have cash for veterans unaware of the new policy.

The new rules will reimburse veterans by check within 14 days or via direct deposit within five days.

Edgin said the new policy is going to cause problems.

"And a hardship. I'd be willing to bet there's a lot of vets out there that won't make their medical appointments now because they don't have the gas money to go," Edgin said.

Edgin said he just wants to get the word out to other veterans who may not be aware of the change and to tell the VA he thinks they are making a mistake.

"Reconsider this policy. This policy is going to hurt veterans. I know why they did it, they did it to save money. But this policy is going to harm veterans and reduce their ability to get medical care," Edgin said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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