Thanks to a measure in the latest National Defense Authorization Act, disabled veterans will now be able to travel on any armed forces flight within the continental U.S., scheduled or unscheduled, that’s operated by Air Mobility Command. The benefit applies to any veteran with a service-related, permanent disability rating of 100 percent. This legislation was introduced Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The push to expand military travel for disabled veterans started with the spouse of an Iraq veteran who was permanently disabled by a roadside IED. Because travel on commercial flights was nearly impossible for the veteran, the spouse saw a great need to expand travel benefits. These new travel provisions come at no additional price to the Department of Defense and require no new aircraft modifications.
Before the Disabled Veterans Access to Space-A Travel Act was passed, research from the Government Accountability Office found that more than 75 percent of available space used up on military transport aircraft was occupied by a very small minority of eligible veterans. Therefore, expanding the program to 100 percent disabled veterans seemed like an easy decision.
Disabled Army, Navy, Coast Guard, or other service branch veterans who believe they are being wrongfully denied benefits may be able to get the necessary assistance from a qualified attorney. Since Veterans’ benefits are not always distributed fairly, legal representation could be important. It’s the responsibility of a lawyer to make sure their client gets a chance to argue their case in court.