After complaints from Maine veterans of significantly extended wait times for travel reimbursement, Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) led a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough, joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME), and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01), about the reported holdups.
“In many instances, Maine veterans have been waiting up to seven months to receive reimbursement payments from the VA.” The delegation wrote. “The delay in the timely processing of travel reimbursement claims constitutes a substantial, often profound, financial penalty for many veterans who cannot afford to wait weeks or months to be reimbursed for hundreds to thousands of dollars for travel costs...It is unacceptable that those who have faithfully served our nation must incur such significant costs to receive necessary medical care.”
The Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System (BTSSS), the VA’s new system for approving healthcare travel reimbursements, has caused significant delays for veterans. Before the BTSSS was implemented in September, veterans were able to secure reimbursement within a 14-day window by providing receipts using VISTA Benefit Travel.
Now, veterans must wait at least 60 days before receiving reimbursement. Some Mainers have reported delays of up to seven months — straining the already tight budgets of some Maine vets on fixed income who desperately need treatment.
You can read more about the challenges faced by Maine vets using the new system in the delegation’s letter to Secretary McDonough here.