How is it determined that a veteran requires “Special Mode” transportation? What eligibility requirements must be met?

Special mode of transportation includes ambulance, ambulette, air ambulance, wheelchair van, and other modes which are specially designed to transport certain disabled individuals. Special mode DOES NOT include public transportation such as taxi, bus, subway, train, airplane, or privately owned conveyance with special adaptive equipment and/or capable of transporting disabled persons.


In order to be eligible for special mode of transportation, two criteria must be met. The veteran first has to be administratively eligible for transport at VA expense. This includes meeting the basic criteria, as well as being “unable to defray the expenses of travel” as defined in 38 CFR 70.10 (c). Unless these criteria are met the veteran is not eligible for special mode of transportation.


Once administrative eligibility is established, a VA clinician must then determine that a special mode of transportation is medically required to transport the veteran for VA health care. Unless one of the forms of special mode of transportation is required and documented as such, this method of transportation is inappropriate. Should it be clinically determined at one VA facility that such transportation is required, this should be accepted at all VA facilities, unless there is reason to think a veteran’s condition may have changed. Local procedures should be established to determine special mode requirements, as well as communication guidelines to other VA facilities when it is necessary to send veterans with this requirement to Tertiary Care, other VA facilities, or non-VA providers for treatment.