VA Service Dog Veterinary Health Insurance Policy (VHIB)
VA Service Dog Veterinary Health Benefit! Did you know that Veterans with visual, hearing, or substantial mobility impairments can receive support through service dogs? Here’s what you need to know:
Recognized Service Dogs:
Veterans must complete a training program accredited by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation. This includes service dogs aiding with mobility, hearing, or visual impairments.
VA Does Not Provide Service Dogs:
While VA approves service dogs, Veterans are referred to accredited agencies for their service dogs.
How to Apply for VA Veterinary Health Benefits:
- Guide, Hearing, Mobility: Meet with a VA Clinical Care Provider to start the application process. The provider will evaluate and determine the need for a service dog, coordinating with the local VA Medical Center Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service.
- Mental Health Mobility: Consult a VA Mental Health Provider to initiate the application. The care team evaluates if substantial mobility limitations are due to mental health conditions and if a service dog is the optimal intervention.
Case Review & Evaluation:
Prescribing clinicians assess the ability to care for the dog, goals to be accomplished, and the optimal intervention. Approval or disapproval is communicated through the VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aid Service.
Benefits Provided by VA:
- Commercially available insurance policy covering medically necessary treatments.
- Coverage for all treatment costs determined to be medically necessary.
- No exclusion for preexisting conditions that don’t hinder the dog’s service.
- Hardware, repairs, or replacements clinically determined as required for the dog’s tasks.
- Payments for travel expenses associated with obtaining or replacing a service dog.
VA covers premiums, copayments, deductibles, and travel expenses. However, the veteran is responsible for any cost exceeding the policy’s limit, as well as non-authorized items or expenses.
Contact Your Local Prosthetic and Sensory Aid Service:
Have additional questions? Contact your local Prosthetic and Sensory Aid Service Department using the Facility Locator.