Funding for Medically Necessary AT for Veterans
Help Accessing Services:
Veterans Agents are available in every city and town in Massachusetts to help veterans access state and federal veteran's benefits. Read more.
Veterans' Agents (or "Veterans' Services Officers") are available in every city and town in the Commonwealth to help veterans access federal and state benefits (mandated by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115). The expertise of Veterans' Agents varies dramatically, however, as smaller communities have part-time agents only. If your local Veterans' Agent is less experienced, you may wish to pursue help from an Agent in a neighboring community or from a Veterans' Services Organization.
A town-by-town directory of Veterans' Agents is available at this Department of Veterans Services website.
Veterans Services Organizations
Veterans Services Organizations are available to help veterans access services, file claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or help file an appeal to a VA claim. Read more.
Veterans' Services Organizations (VSOs) are private organizations with staff or volunteers at regional VA offices, hospitals, and communities to help veterans file a claim for benefits or file an appeal to a denial. They are referred to as "service representatives" and are often older veterans themselves. 8 private VSOs have service representatives at the Boston VA Regional Office* (JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA 02203). Services are free of charge and do not require membership with the Veterans' Services Organization. These include:
- AmVets - 617-303-5698
- American Legion - 617-303-5695
- Blinded Veterans Association - 617-303-5691
- Disabled American Veterans - 617-303-5675
- Military Order of the Purple Heart - 617-303-5696
- Paralyzed Veterans of America - 617-303-1395
- Veterans of Foreign Wars - 617-303-5688
- Vietnam Veterans of America - 617-303-5687
*Note: if you are a resident of Nantucket, Barnstable, Bristol, or Dukes counties in Massachusetts, you are served by the Providence RI Regional Office (380 Westminister Mall, Providence, RI 02903). A good starting place for veterans service assistance from this office is: Dick Early, Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services, 401-223-3685.
Wounded Warrior Services
Wounded Warrior services are available from several sources, providing seriously disabled soldiers with free, expert, special advocacy help. Read more.
The US Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2, formerly the Disabled Soldier Support System) provides soldiers seriously disabled (by hostile or non-hostile causes) with free, expert, special advocacy help with enrolling for benefits and linking with support services. AW2 Soldier Family Advocates are available to severely disabled soldiers and their families, including soldiers disabled by disease or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Air Force W2 program works hand-in-hand with the Air Force Survivor Assistance Program and Airman & Family Readiness Centers to ensure Airmen receive professional support and care from the point of injury, through separation or retirement, for life.
The Wounded Warrior Project is a non profit providing VA benefits assistance. "Our service personnel work closely with each agency so they can walk warriors through every step of the process. When a claim is filed, we make sure it is processed correctly the first time and guide injured service members through this crucial part of their transition."
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
The VA is the largest single medical care system in the United States and it is one of the largest purchasers of assistive technology for people with disabilities. Access to eligibility and benefits information is provided here. Read more.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a federal agency that provides income supplements and medical benefits to former military personnel and their families. It is the largest single medical care system in the United States and it is one of the largest purchasers of assistive technology for people with disabilities.
Visit the VA website's current benefits page for the booklet, Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents.
Eligibility can be complicated at the VA. In general, eligibility is determined on an individual basis depending on a veteran's service, income, level of VA pension or disability compensation, whether or not the disability is "service-connected", and depending on the type of device or service needed.
VA health care is available to all veterans (with honorable or general discharges who have served at least 180 days of active duty) for at least two years after serving in a combat zone (this includes participants in the Global War on Terror). And veterans receiving VA care for any condition may receive VA devices and equipment through the VA's Prosthetics and Sensory Aids program. VA care, however, is not considered an "entitlement." These are services provided to veterans as funding allows and veterans are sorted into categories based on their priority for receiving service. Veterans must be annually enrolled in the VA healthcare system to receive any kind of care.
VA benefits information hotlines:
(800) 827-1000, includes vocational rehabilitation, pension, health*
(888) GI-BILL-1 (888-442-4551) for education benefits
(800) 829-4833 TDD, information for all benefits
* This is a good resource for all but residents of southeastern Massachusetts (Nantucket, Barnstable, Bristol and Dukes counties). There's "a bug in the system"; the phone company connects these residents to the Boston VA Regional Office even though the Veterans Benefits Administration serves them through the Providence Road Island Regional Office only. Southeastern Massachusetts residents may get help by calling the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services representative in RI at 401-223-3685 (Dick Early).
The VA runs 5 main medical center campuses in addition to 13 community-based outpatient clinics in Massachusetts. Find your local VA medical center at the VA website. Most services are accessed through the VA medical center system.
What AT Services are Provided?
- Housing and Home Modification Grants The VA has 3 accessible-housing related grants programs. Read about them (at the Funding for Home page).
- Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service The VA's Prosthetics and Sensory Aids program may buy AT devices for veterans receiving VA care for any condition. Read about it (at the Funding for Home page).
- Hearing Aids and Eyeglasses Certain veterans are eligible for hearing aids, audiology tests, eyeglasses and eye exams through the VA. Read about it (at the Funding for Home page).
- Services for Blind Veterans Various AT devices and services may be available to blind veterans enrolled in the VA health care system Read about it (at the Funding for Home page).
What If I Need to Appeal My Quality of Care from a VA Medical Facility?