Congressman Jim Matheson said a recent Veteran's Administration (VA) increase in the mileage reimbursement rate is an important development for Utah veterans, in the face of rising travel costs overall.
"Veterans in rural Utah shouldn't have to avoid scheduling appointments for their health care needs because they are worried about what it will cost to travel to and from the facility," said Matheson.
Matheson noted that the VA has raised the reimbursement rate from 28.5 to 41.5 cents per mile as of Nov. 17, 2008. The action follows a mileage reimbursement rate increase from 11 to 28.5 cents in January 2008. Both increases are the result of historic VA funding increases passed by Congress in 2007 and 2008. Matheson said he's heard from a number of veterans about the expense of traveling to VA health care facilities that often involves driving long distances.
"This needed increase in travel reimbursement rates is one example of how millions of veterans will benefit from Congressional action," said Matheson. "Before this year, travel reimbursements were frozen at 11 cents per mile. That had not increased since 1979 when gas was 95 cents a gallon."
Matheson noted that the historic $16.3 billion increase in funding for veterans health care and benefits came about because he and his colleagues listened to the veterans' organizations and then succeeded in passing the legislation.