The Office of Veterans Affairs in the USA has said it will subsidise travel for VA medical appointments, including from St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John to Puerto Rico.
Eligible USA veterans can access medical care at any Veterans Affairs medical facility in the USA or its territories.
What makes the difference is who pays for the veteran’s travel arrangements to that facility.
Through the Code of Federal Regulations, veterans are mandated to seek medical care at the VA medical facility closest to their residence if the VA is expected to pay for travel to that facility.
In the case of the Virgin Islands, there is an outpatient clinic on St. Thomas and one on St. Croix; however, the closest VA Medical Centre is on Puerto Rico.
For a very long time, veterans in the Virgin Islands have expressed an interest in being able to travel to the mainland to attend VA medical appointments. To address these concerns, the Office of Veterans Affairs will be subsidising the plane ticket of any veteran seeking to attend VA Medical appointments on the mainland. Veterans will be allowed a subsidy for no more than three trips per fiscal year (a fiscal year goes from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) at a rate of up to US$250 per trip. Veterans wishing to take advantage of this benefit must first contact the V.I. Office of Veterans Affairs for pre-approval. Any request made after travel may not be approved.
Non-service-connected veterans travelling within the immediate region (St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Puerto Rico) for VA medical appointments are reimbursed up to 10% of their plane ticket.