VA Service Dog Benefits
You are eligible to apply for the VA Service Dog Benefit if the reason you have the Service Dog is service-connected. The Service Dog must also be provided to you by a fully accredited organization through Assistance Dogs International (ADI) for PTSD, Hearing, and Physical Service Dogs, or International Guide Dog Federation for Guide Dogs.
You can apply for the benefit prior to obtaining the Service Dog, or after receiving the Service Dog. It is always best to start the process beforehand as it takes time.
The process can begin with a consult to Prosthetic and Sensory Aid (PSAS) from your PCP or from your Mental Health provider if it is for PTSD. You can also reach out to your local PSAS to obtain more information.
PSAS will do a formal assessment to determine if a Service Dog is the proper intervention for each individual. For those seeking a Service Dog for PTSD, a mental health clinician will do a Mental Healthy Mobility Assessment to determine if a Service Dog is the proper intervention.
If they determine that a Service Dog is a proper intervention, the paperwork is then sent to the PSAS VA Central Office (VACO) in Washington for final approval.
If approved, the veteran will receive a formal letter and then a health insurance card for the Service Dog. This card will be presented at the time of service and in most cases will result in no out-of-pocket cost for any veterinary care for the Service Dog. In some cases, a veterinarian may require payment upfront which will then be reimbursed to the Veteran.
Remember, this is a benefit you have earned and can save thousands of dollars over the life of the dog. Please review the CCI Service Dog Fact Sheet and PSAS Service Dog Fact Sheet from the VA to learn more about the process, what the insurance does and does not cover, and how and how to apply.