New law provisions of the Advancing Uniform Transportation Opportunities for Veterans Act

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:41 AM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Severely Disabled veterans could receive assistance to get special adaptive equipment for their motor vehicle. News Source 8′s Isaac Potter finds out more about the Advancing Uniform Transportation Act, or AUTO.

President Joe Biden recently signed into law provisions of the Advancing Uniform Transportation Opportunities for Veterans Act. The legislation will reduce a financial burden for severely disabled veterans who require special adaptive equipment to drive the motor vehicle, and will help veterans be eligible to receive a grant through the Department of Veterans Affair to help purchase a new adaptive vehicle once every ten years. Heather Ainsley is the Associate Executive Director of Government Relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America, and says they were excited to hear about the news.

Heather Ainsley: “Very excited to see that the President had signed the Veterans AUTO and education improvement act into law. This legislation included language that we had been advocating for a while that would provide our veterans who have disabilities related to their military service, and who received an auto grant at some point in their lifetime. If it’s been over thirty years, so for instance if they receive their grant following the Vietnam War, they would now have the opportunity to be able to receive an additional grant which is wonderful because access to transportation continues to be an issue to our paralyzed veterans.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America is a non-profit Veterans service organization that works with paralyzed and disabled veterans to provide them access to benefits, healthcare, and more. Ainsley says this has been something the PVA has been working on for a while. Under the previous law, veterans could receive a single automobile grant over the course of their life. Now disabled veterans will be eligible for a grant to purchase a new adaptive vehicle once per decade.

Heather Ainsley: “Having the ability to receive an additional grant will help veterans, number one be able to get a new vehicle. So maybe if their vehicle has several hundred thousand miles, and really needs to be replaced. They now will have a grant that can help them to be able to make the cost of buying that new vehicle. It also means that some of the money that maybe they set aside to purchase a new vehicle, they maybe now be able to use for other needs that they have that otherwise maybe they wouldn’t be able to meet.”

Maine U.S. Senator Susan Collins co-authored the bill.

Heather Ainsley: “Certainly appreciate Senator Collins’ support on this issue and other issues that have impacted our paralyzed veterans over the years. PVA has members in the state of Maine, and they will greatly benefit from the opportunity to receive this additional grant.”

Ainsley mentions the Department of Veterans Affairs will be providing more information in the future, and PVA will be advocating with the VA to implement the law and exercise the authority that the secretary has to provide the benefit. Isaac Potter News Source 8.”