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Veterans Benefits Administration Increases Special Auto Allowance

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Beginning October 1, 2016, eligible Service Members and Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities were granted an increase in the VA Auto Allowance program of (no more than) $20,235 toward the purchase of a vehicle. This is a one-time lifetime grant. Those qualified for the automobile grant may also qualify for the adaptive equipment grant, which is not limited to one time use.

It’s important to note that all individuals need to have prior VA approval before purchasing a vehicle.

Adaptive Equipment Eligibility

Certain Service Members and Veterans may also be eligible for adaptive equipment grants. This type of equipment may include things like power seats and special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person into and out of the vehicle. Wheelchair lifts and scooter stowage devices are other examples.

As with the Auto Allowance program, all individuals must have prior VA approval before purchasing any adaptive equipment.

Scheduling a Needs Analysis at MobilityWorks

Veterans who qualify for the Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants are encouraged to contact a MobilityWorks consultant to schedule a free needs analysis and ingress/egress assessment with your current wheelchair or mobility scooter. We can also help you to obtain the necessary requirement and procedure information from the local VA Medical Center. Conversion manufacturers and other industry suppliers may also provide veterans with discounted pricing and/or rebates.

For More information, go to:

VA Benefits – Special Auto Allowance

MobilityWorks Veterans Assistance Page

 

 

 

Marine Lance Corporal and Double Amputee Brandon Receives Wheelchair Van

Brandon Long was on his first deployment in Afghanistan in 2010 when he lost his legs to an IED blast just 2 days before his daughter Claire was born. Thanks to the MobilityWorks team and nonprofit Help Our Military Heroes, this deserving hero received the keys to a new BraunAbility Chrysler Town and Country.

Brandon Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice

Brandon was on foot patrol with his unit when he stepped on an IED. The young man’s squad worked hard to save his life.

“I remember flying through the air and I landed on my right side,” Brandon said of the explosion. “It was really hard to breathe, I couldn’t see anything but a cloud of dust. I remember speaking to the man upstairs and he was telling me my daughter was going to be on the way and I needed to look after her and my wife. He said because of your wife and daughter I am giving you a second chance.”

By the time he arrived at the hospital, Brandon lost 98% of his blood volume and had to be resuscitated multiple times. He was then airlifted to Germany.

“I was 9 months pregnant at the time,” Brandon’s wife Nicole said. “My cell phone rang and they said Brandon had stepped on an IED. All they knew was that he lost his legs and he was in critical condition. I didn’t know what to expect and I was terrified. I didn’t know what his emotions would be. But seeing him meet his daughter for the first time was amazing and overwhelming all at the same time.”

Brandon came home to the United States to recover in Maryland for 2 years. The young family has since moved to St. Augustine, Florida. The journey was tough but Brandon has adapted to all the changes. Homes For Our Troops built Brandon, Nicole and 5-year-old Claire an accessible home. The next step was for Brandon to get back on the road with a new wheelchair accessible minivan.

MobilityWorks Helps Brandon

“Tammy Phipps, a VA representative from Walter Reed in Maryland, referred Brandon to our store,” Tampa General Manager Brian Stuckey said. “Tammy also put Brandon in touch with Ted and Laurie Hollander, founders of Help Our Military Heroes [HOMH]. Brandon decided to work with HOMH and MobilityWorks based on our reputation.”

The Tampa team helped Brandon throughout the process so his vehicle would be safe for his family.

“We installed hand controls, a spinner knob and a transfer seat base,” Brian said. “The vehicle is a BraunAbility Town and Country with a power infloor ramp.”

The MobilityWorks team was proud to assist this young hero as he regains his freedom.

“Brandon is a great guy,” Brian said. “He is 5 years older than my son so I felt an instant connection. It is going to change his life and his little girl will be able to sit in the back and watch DVDs. The family is very happy with their new van. Brandon made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and I am thrilled that we could help him in any way possible.”

Laurie from Help Our Military Heroes agreed with Brian.

“Live a life worthy of their sacrifice,” Laurie said. “That’s my motto. It is part of my prayer every day.”

Brandon is grateful for all the help he has received.

“I don’t know where our family would be without help from people like them,” Brandon said. “The van is amazing and I still can’t believe it’s mine. To be able to hold the keys in my hand-it’s just amazing.”

The Tampa CBS and Fox News Affiliates were on hand during the van presentation. Click here to see Brandon get the keys to his new BraunAbility van at our Tampa store.

Join MobilityWorks Pittsburgh for their 10th Annual Mobility Expo

On Thursday, October 8, 2015, join MobilityWorks of Pittsburgh for their 10th Annual Mobility Expo. The event will take place at our MobilityWorks Pittsburgh store located at 1090 Mosside Blvd. in Wall, PA from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM.

The special one-day event will honor our veterans for their service, as well as bring together a unique blend of personal wellness advocates, mobility experts and transportation solutions under one roof.

The day will feature more than 20 exhibitors, entertainment by Whiskey 101, catering by Steel City Steakhouse and special event specials and discounts. For more information, or to register for the event, please call 412-824-8220.

September is National Service Dog Month

Service Dog

Each September we recognize the many service dogs who provide assistance, protection, companionship and confidence to their owners.

Service dogs serve those with debilitating medical conditions; from autism to blindness, seizure disorders and hearing impairments, diabetes and those who need physical assistance, and they also serve our wounded warriors suffering from conditions like PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and mobility issues.

National Service Dog Month was first established in 2008 by actor and animal advocate Dick Van Patten.  Van Patten was inspired by a visit to the Guide Dogs of the Desert facility in Palm Springs, CA. After learning of the costs and times involved in training a service dog, he initiated a fundraising drive to benefit guide and service dog training schools throughout the country.

The fundraiser through time grew into an annual celebration honoring the extraordinary work service animals do each and every day for the people they care for.

Many service dog organizations have two objectives; to provide a trained companion animal for people in need and to save an animal’s life by using rescue animals for this work. With thousands of dogs dying in shelters every year, it’s a perfect partnership.  A 2013 statistic indicated that more than 380 rescued dogs were placed in jobs that saved their lives and benefited the person they now serve.

MobilityWorks Helps Veteran Shannon Daniels Regain His Freedom

MobilityWorks of Marietta GA Helps Air Force Veteran Shannon Daniels Regain His Freedom with a Wheelchair Accessible Van

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Recently, Fox 5 News Atlanta aired an I-Team investigative report on Air Force Veteran Shannon Daniels’ struggles with his local Veteran’s Affairs (VA) office.

Shannon is a combat veteran who was injured during the Gulf War. Though classified by the military as “permanently and totally disabled”, Shannon still had the ability to walk. However; last Fall, when he was involved in a motor vehicle collision, he was left with disc herniation, spine pathology and rotator cuff tears. As a result, Shannon is now completely paralyzed from the waist down.

Shannon’s VA doctor approved him for a motorized wheelchair to help him get around. However, the VA rejected his request for access to special transportation to pick up that chair to bring to his house.  After nine months of effort with no resolution, Shannon reached out to Fox 5 for help.

Fox 5 was able to connect with the VA who apologized to Shannon and ensured him that would work to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, Tasha Chitolie and other staff members from our Marietta, GA MobilityWorks location saw the Fox 5 news segment on Shannon and wanted to help.

The team knew of a woman who was looking to sell a used wheelchair accessible vehicle. After hearing about Shannon’s situation, she generously decided to donate her vehicle to the veteran.

Earlier this week, MobilityWorks was able to present the vehicle to Shannon, who says he now feels like he has his life back.

Shannon’s caregiver can transport him in the vehicle. In the future, he will also look into the possibility of being able to drive the vehicle himself.

In addition, MobilityWorks also presented Shannon with a motorized wheelchair to use to get around more easily until he gets his own custom electric wheelchair from the VA.
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MobilityWorks was proud to be able to be a part of giving back to one of our Veterans. Thanks to Shannon Daniels and all of our military service men and women who have dedicated, and are dedicating, so much to our country.