receiving VA care for any condition may receive VA prosthetic appliances, equipment and services, such as home respiratory
therapy, artificial limbs, orthopedic braces and therapeutic shoes, wheelchairs, powered mobility, crutches, canes, walkers,
and other durable medical equipment and supplies.
Affairs (VA) Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (PSAS) provides a range of prosthetic devices, sensory aids and other special
benefits to eligible service-connected veterans. For example, one benefit is the annual clothing allowance for veterans who
are service-connected for a disability “for which they use prosthetic or orthopedic appliances or whose service-connected
skin condition requires prescribed medication that irreparably damages outer garments.”
veterans who previously were awarded clothing allowance for certain knee or spine braces are receiving denial letters from
the VA. Why? Because the Veterans Health Administration updated its handbook in May 2015 with many new
changes. Before the changes, any “rigid” spine or knee brace qualified for the annual allowance whether or not
it was covered in fabric. Under the new guidelines, any brace that has hinges, plastic or metal that stays covered in fabric
no longer qualifies for an allowance.
new changes effect items that do not tend to tear or wear out clothing such as: soft orthotics, transcutaneous electrical
nerve stimulation (TENS) units, shoes, shoe inserts, non-specialized wheelchairs (sedentary/sitting purposes), scooters, canes,
Rollator walkers, elastic/flexible braces, items with Velcro stays, hinged braces covered in fabric (metal stays covered),
and braces with plastic stays covered in fabric, just to name a few.
Here’s what happens in the process.
When a veteran applies for the annual clothing allowance, the application is sent to PSAS, which in turn submits it
to the VA Regional Office. The Regional Office has an updated list of all the prosthetic products that meet the requirements
for the clothing allowance (make sure your VSO has the updated list). It’s important for veterans to make sure their
VA medical records are kept updated at all times to reflect any changes which indicate prescribed prosthetics or skin ointments
that may come in to play for the new PSAS changes.