a. Veterans Service Center officials in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) refer applications for the clothing allowance benefit to VHA in all cases, with the exception of a clothing allowance benefit as an accrued benefit after the veteran's death.
b. Certain clothing allowance claims require a determination by a Prosthetic Representative, or designated physician, when the veteran's disability appears temporary in nature or when, for other reasons, a review of the record and/or physical examination of the veteran is necessary.
c. In all cases where a review is determined to be necessary, the Prosthetic Representative, and/or designated physician, must determine that:
(1) Use of the device or skin medication is medically prescribed; and
(2) In the case of a device, such device qualifies as a prosthetic or orthopedic appliance;
(3) The device or skin medication tends to wear out, tear, or cause irreparable damage to the veteran's clothing; and
(4) The veteran actually uses the device or skin medication with sufficient consistency to wear out, tear, or cause irreparable damage to clothing. If it cannot be determined from the veteran's records that all preceding conditions have been met, an examination and/or evaluation is required.
d. The clothing allowance may be authorized for veterans who wear braces, rigid spinal braces, rigid cervical braces, or who use wheelchairs, crutches, rigid orthotics and/or ankle and/or foot orthosis (AFOs), ileostomy and colostomy appliances or similar devices, or who use certain skin medications and/or ointments.
e. Payment of the clothing allowance is made in a lump sum annually to those for whom entitlement is established as of August 1. Future annual payments are made to those who are on the rolls with established permanent or temporary entitlement on August 1 of subsequent years. These annual payments are not related to specific periods and prorated payments are not made. For example, if a veteran establishes eligibility for the clothing allowance as of any date after August 1 of any year, the claimant is not entitled to any payment for that year. No amount is payable until the annual payment becomes due on the following August 1. Likewise, a partial refund is not required should the veteran's entitlement be terminated during a period after the annual clothing allowance has been furnished, which is prior to the succeeding August 1.