Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Leads Legislation To Expand Eligibility for Adapted Vehicles for Disabled Veterans

  • CARS for Vets Act

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the Care Access Resources (CARS) for Vets Act, H.R. 3304.  This legislation expands the eligibility for disabled veterans to obtain vehicles modified for their disabilities. Currently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a program that provides service-connected disabled veterans with a one-time payment to adapt their vehicle for their medical needs if their disability prevents them from driving.  To adapt for the limited life cycles of vehicles, the CARS for Vets Act authorizes the VA to provide an eligible person with an additional vehicle if 10 years have elapsed since they received their previously covered vehicle.  

“In our community and communities across the country, cars are essential for transportation.  For disabled veterans, driving a car can present challenges.  Fortunately, the VA has a successful grant program that allows disabled veterans to adapt their cars to meet their specific needs, helping to ensure that they live independent and mobile lives,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “This program allows for a one-time payment for one vehicle.  In order to build on the success of the VA’s program, and to ensure that our veterans continue to receive the support they have earned, I am glad to introduce legislation that will make it possible for program participants to purchase additional vehicles to meet their needs every 10 years.” 

“Right now, veterans who need to replace the adapted vehicles that help them get to work and medical appointments may be stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “That’s not right. Rep. Fletcher’s CARS for Vets Act provides a critical fix to allow service-connected disabled veterans to replace the adapted vehicles they need every 10 years by utilizing a VA grant.”

“For too long, disabled veterans who rely on adapted vehicles for daily transportation needs have been forced to retain these vehicles far beyond their normal lifespan. These vehicles represent independent living for individuals with severe disabilities, and replacing them can cause a serious financial hardship for veterans and their families.  DAV thanks Rep. Fletcher for introducing legislation that would allow veterans to reuse their auto adaptation grant, allowing them to purchase newer, reliable vehicles when the need arises,” said Stephen “Butch” Whitehead, DAV (Disabled American Veterans) National Commander. 

“The VFW supports this legislation as it would expand the current program to align with more realistic expectations of vehicle ownership. Service-connected injuries last a lifetime, but cars do not. Veterans should not have to pay additional costs associated with modified vehicles to accommodate their needs due to service-connected injuries,” said Pat Murray, VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) National Legislative Director. 

“COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of veterans with catastrophic disabilities having access to safe and reliable transportation of their own. The ‘CARS for Veterans Act’ would ensure veterans with service-connected disabilities are able to regularly purchase adaptable vehicles and that all veterans with catastrophic disabilities have access to certain vehicle modifications through VA,” said Heather Ansley, PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) Associate Executive Director of Government Relations.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee estimates that nearly 60,000 veterans would benefit from the CARS for Vets Act in the next 10 years.  Specifically, the legislation: 

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide or assist in providing an additional automobile to an eligible person if ten years have elapsed since the date the eligible person received the previous automobile; 
  • Expands the definition of “medical services” to include certain vehicle modifications.

This legislation is endorsed by Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).