HomeVA ProstheticsVA Handbook 1173.4 - Automotive Adaptive EquipmentAuthority

4.5. Authority

a. The basic authority to provide automobile adaptive equipment is Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) Chapter 39 and implementing regulations in Title 38 Code of Federal regulations (CFR) 17.155 ΤΗτ 17.159. This authority is extended to the following:

(1) Veterans who are service connected for the loss or loss of use of one or both feet or hands, or who have a service connected ankylosis of one or both knees or one or both hips.

(2) Veterans with service connection for permanent impairment of vision of both eyes who have a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective eyewear, or greater than 20/200 where the visual field of the better eye is 20 degrees or less, and who are licensed and capable of operating a motor vehicle.

b. Veterans must be in receipt of an approved VA Form 21-4502, Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment, or their rating sheet. The VA Regional Office Adjudication Officer approves applications for automobile adaptive equipment by certifying Section II of this form (ref. Public Law (Pub. L.) 91-666 (1-11-71)).

c. Veterans rated service connected for ankylosis of one or both knees or of one or both hips must be in receipt of a letter from the Adjudication Officer from the Regional Office verifying service connection for the disability (ref. Pub. L .97-66 (10-1-81)).

d. Veterans undergoing vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31, in order to achieve their goals of the rehabilitation program, and whose Vocational Rehabilitation and Counseling (VR&C) Division case manager, has determined that the veteran is eligible due to service connected disabilities, but not under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 39, and the veteran has been evaluated and deemed unable to achieve rehabilitation by alternate means, such as: training in home or by an individualized instructor when alternative means are less expensive and equally suitable (ref. Pub. L. 96-466 (10-17-80)). NOTE: Automobile adaptive equipment provided under this authority may be provided for one vehicle and will not exceed the benefit for veterans under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 39.

e. Certain items, i.e., van lifts, raised doors, raised roofs, air-conditioning and wheelchair tiedowns for passenger use, may be furnished as part of medical services VA is providing under 38 U.S.C. 1701, as a follow-up to VA hospitalization, provided the equipment is medically necessary for the care and treatment of the veteran. Vehicle modifications, such as raised doors or van lifts, may be furnished to eligible veterans, who are wheelchair-bound, when necessary to allow such person to enter and exit. NOTE: Automobile adaptive equipment provided under this authority may be provided for one vehicle and will not exceed the benefit for veterans under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 39. Operational equipment, hand controls, power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, etc., will not be authorized. NOTE: All enrolled veterans who are prescribed medical equipment described in this paragraph are eligible for such equipment. Enrolled veterans do not need additional documentation to establish eligibility for non-operational adaptive equipment. [Emphasis added.]

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