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RI Veterans: Did you know? (Snowbird vets, travel pay & prescriptions, events, more) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, veterans writer

Snowbird Veterans Must Know VA Information for Prescriptions and or Medical Care

Did you know if you are planning seasonally travel the VA Providence Medical Facility can provide prescriptions to a temporary address?

Did you know VA Providence Medical Facility Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) has a Veteran Travel Coordinator who will assist the veteran in mailing prescriptions and other medical needs to the seasonal address?  The Veteran Travel Coordinator can also assist the veteran with medical care while away from the VA Providence Medical facility.

VETTIP: While traveling, RINEWSTODAY recommends a veteran always travel with his or her veteran ID card. In addition, recommend you make a copy of the card and have it in a safe location, other than your wallet.

Points of Contact at VA Providence Medical are:

1. Michelle Diamond. 401-273-7100 x 16185

2. Jackie Graff, 401-273-7100 x 16159


Veterans Entitled To VA Travel Reimbursement

Did you know 30% VA combined disability rating and numerous other veterans are entitled to travel pay for scheduled appointments?

Mileage reimbursement rate. The VA currently pays 41.5 cents ($0.415) per mile for approved, health-related travel. The VA uses Bing Maps to calculate your mileage, based on the fastest and shortest route from your home to the closest VA or authorized non-VA health facility that can provide the care you need. This distance is often called “door to door. The  VA pays round-trip mileage for your scheduled appointments. We may only pay return mileage for unscheduled visits.

VETTIP: Sadly, to save workload (detailed in several congressional responses to veterans informing them of a change in procedure for travel reimbursement) inconvenience veterans, and deny most vulnerable veterans (elderly and most in need of money), the VA changed the old system to get travel pay: veterans would scan in their card at the VA, prompted to answer a few questions, and hit enter key to file for travel reimbursements.

After completing the above,  less than 30 days the veteran would receive travel, reimbursement either by check or direct deposit.

Now, a veteran must have access to a personal computer, create a sign on which includes adding additional authentication to be signed on. The new system majority of veterans do not have access or have patience or technical expertise to complete requirements to file for a travel pay benefit they are entitled to when traveling to and from VA scheduled appointments.

VETTIP: I am one of those veterans, although entitled to travel pay because a 100% VA combined disability rating, I do not have the patience to sign on for benifits I am entitled to. Nor as a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) do I have the skill and patience to help veterans navigate his or her account for travel pay reimnursement.

More on VA travel pay reimbursement:

VA travel pay reimbursement pays eligible Veterans and caregivers back for mileage and other travel expenses to and from approved health care appointments. Find out if you’re eligible and how to file a claim. 

To be eligible for travel pay, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a Veteran enrolled in VA health care.
  • You have a VA service-connected disability rating of 30% or more, or you are traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition.
  • You are traveling for a scheduled VA appointment or for authorized non-VA care, such as a VA-authorized private health care provider, a VA-authorized community-based outpatient clinic, or a VA-authorized contract facility.
  • You receive a VA pension, or
  • You have an income that’s below the maximum annual VA pension rate, or
  • You can’t afford to pay for your travel, as defined by our guidelines, or
  • You’re traveling for one of these reasons: A scheduled VA claim exam (also called a compensation and pension, or C&P, exam), to get a service dog, or for VA-approved transplant care 

VETTIP: Example: veteran is eligible for travel pay if he or she has ZERO VA-approved disability rating for hearing and has to travel for an issue with his or her hearing aids issued by the VA. 

Did you know a veteran’s caregiver is eligible for travel pay? The VA may pay for transportation and related lodging and meals for non-Veterans if the person meets any of these requirements.

At least one of these must be true:

  • The person is your family caregiver under the National Caregiver Program traveling to receive caregiver training or to support your care, or
  • The person is your medically required attendant traveling with you to support your care, or
  • The person is your transplant care donor or support person

Filing for Travel Pay

To file for travel pay, you can use the online travel portal here or submit VA Form 10-354, Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses to our travel department.  Here are the steps to follow:

1. Before your appointment, check with your VA medical facility to ensure that you are eligible for travel pay and to find out what documentation you need to provide.

VETTIP: If you are receiving a combined 30% VA/disability compensation and or have an appointment for an approved VA disability (to include ZERO percent), you are entitled to travel pay reimbursement.

2. Keep all receipts and documents related to your travel, such as parking and toll receipts.

3. After your appointment, use the online portal or complete VA Form 10-3542 and attach all necessary receipts if you have them.

4. Submit your claim to your VA medical facility within 30 days of your appointment.

5. Your travel pay will be processed and paid to you within a few weeks.

Additional information: 

  • If you have questions or need assistance with filing for travel pay, contact our travel department at 401-273-7100
  • For appointments approved in the community, you will need documentation from your provider to prove you attended the appointment.

Travel pay can help offset the cost of transportation to and from your medical appointments.  Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and file your claim in a timely manner to receive your reimbursement.

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These types of transport are covered under special mode transportation reimbursement. You may be eligible for reimbursement if you meet the requirements listed here.

This must be true:

You’re a Veteran traveling for care at a VA health facility or for VA-approved care at a facility in your community.

And all of these must also be true:

  • You’re eligible for general health care travel reimbursement, and
  • A VA health care provider determines that your medical condition requires an ambulance or a specially equipped van for travel, and
  • We’ve approved your travel in advance unless the travel is for an emergency situation where a delay would threaten your life or health. If you need emergency transportation, notify us within 72 hours after transport.  

For more information, talk with your VA healthcare team.

What happen after the veteran files for travel pay:

They will deposit your reimbursement through electronic funds transfer (EFT), unless other payment arrangements are made. 

Mileage reimbursement rate

They currently pay 41.5 cents ($0.415) per mile for approved, health-related travel. They use Bing Maps to calculate mileage, based on the fastest and shortest route from your home to the closest VA or authorized non-VA health facility that can provide the care you need. This distance is often called “door to door.”

They pay round-trip mileage for your scheduled appointments, and only pay return mileage for unscheduled visits.

Other Transportation Options for Veterans: DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) provides free van rides to and from VA Providence Healthcare System in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts to Veterans who don’t have other transportation options. Find out how to schedule a DAV van ride.

If you’d like to schedule a DAV van ride, contact the hospital service coordinator who serves your county.

Providence VA Medical Center – Room 135 – 830 Chalkstone Avenue – Providence
Phone: 401-223-3695

Please note that DAV vans can only provide rides to ambulatory passengers (passengers who are able to move around without the driver’s help). For information on accessible transportation options, review our other Veteran shuttle services.

Guidelines for using DAV vans

DAV van passengers are expected to follow certain guidelines, established by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the DAV National Headquarters. These guidelines include the following:

  • All riders must be ambulatory (able to board and exit the van without the driver’s help).
  • The DAV van driver is only allowed to stop the van for rest stops, emergencies, and to pick up and drop off passengers. Passengers should not ask the driver to make side trips to take care of their personal business.
  • Passengers are not permitted to smoke, chew tobacco, drink alcohol, use foul language, or bring weapons, drugs, or any illegal substance on the van. Van drivers are not required to provide transportation to any Veteran who is intoxicated, abusive, or who poses a threat to the driver or other passengers.
  • Passengers should not do anything to distract the driver.
  • Passengers should wear seatbelts at all times. Any passenger who refuses to wear a seatbelt will be denied transportation.
  • If a Veteran needs another individual (for example, a caregiver) to ride in the van with them, they need to get authorization from their VA attending physician or VA-certified nurse practitioner.
  • Veterans being discharged or granted passes can ride on a DAV van during the van’s trip back to its home county only if space is available. The Veteran must be ready to leave when the van leaves the VA medical center.
  • Veterans should be dressed and ready to leave for the hospital at the time specified. Drivers can’t wait for Veterans who aren’t ready to leave at the appointed time.
  • Veterans can only bring with them items that they can hold on their lap or store under the seat.
  • The DAV van is not an emergency vehicle. The driver may refuse to transport any Veteran who appears to be too ill to ride the van.
  • Veterans who use the DAV Transportation Network will not be eligible to receive reimbursement for travel expenses.
    (M-1, Part 1, Chapter 25, July 8, 1991)



December 23, 2023, 11:30 to 1pm – FREE Luncheon, VFW Post 5392, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton – Italian Luncheon Chicken Parmigiana , Pasta, Caesar Salad, Dessert , and Coffee/Tea sponsored by Front Line Ministry for Freedom, Bristol RI, Building Bridges, and Italian American war Veterans of US.

January 1, 2023, Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House, 9-11 am, ROMA, 311 Atwells Ave, Providence. All veterans and guest invited. FREE refreshments: Coffee, Italian toast, Italian pastries and calzones. Veteran Service Officer available to assist any veteran or family member with benefits.

January 6, 2023, 9am to 11am – Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House, ROMA, 311 Atwells Ave, Providence RI, FREE, refreshments; Coffee, Italian Toast, desserts, calzones and much more. Sponsored by  Italian American war Veterans of US.

January 15, 2023, VFW, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton, 11:00-1:00 FREE Luncheon for veteran and guest. Sponsored by Italian American War Veterans of US, Building Bridges, and VFW POst 5392. All veterans and their guest invited. 


Travel/Entertainment for Veterans

Free Golf,  Goddard Park Golf Course Fee Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island resident Veterans who have a 100% permanent and total, service-connected disability rating from the VA are exempt from paying any fees to play golf at the Goddard Park Golf Course. For more information year-round at Division Headquarters at 401-667-6200.

Free Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for 100% Disabled Veterans: A Veteran who has a 100% disability rating from the VA is eligible for free Rhode Island hunting and fishing licenses.

No cost licenses are available if you are:

·       over 65 AND a Rhode Island resident

·       a veteran with 100% disability status from the Department of Veterans Affairs

·       a person with 100% total disability status from the Social Security Administration

To apply in person at DEM, please bring a photo ID and an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (directions)

To apply by mail, please complete an application and mail the application and a copy of your photo ID and the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Please allow two weeks for processing.

The address to obtain your license in person or by mail is:
DEM Licensing Office
235 Promenade Street, Room 360
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-3576

To purchase online, you will be required to certify that you have an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). You will also be required to enter the date the decision expires. The Department will audit compliance with the certification and may, at any time, request a copy of the current DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Failure to submit the documentation by the date requested may result in the suspension of your fishing and hunting license. Also, Rhode Island General Law 11-18-1 prohibits giving false documents to an agent, employee, or public official. The penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to one year.

Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans: Rhode Island offers several hunting and fishing benefits to Service members and Veterans. A short description of each is listed below. Applicants are required to show documentationDept of Environmental Management logo proving eligibility when they apply:

· Active-Duty Service members – Military ID

· Veterans – DD214

· Disabled Veterans – VA Disability Certification Letter ( Contact VA office)

Applicants can apply online at Rhode Island Outdoors, in person at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Boating Registration and Licenses in Providence (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.), at an Authorized In-Person Sales Agent, or they can mail applications to:

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Room 360
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-222-3576

Learn more about FREE Rhode Island Hunting , Fishing, State Parks, and Golf  Benefits for Service Members and Veterans,that%20issued%20the%20disability%20decision.

Free Rhode Island State Park Passes for 100% Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island offers the State Park Disability Pass for use at any state-owned recreational facility to disabled Veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA.

RI state parks logoThe State Park Disability Pass authorizes free admission and parking but does not exempt the following:

· Licensing fees

· Camping fees

· Picnic table fees

· Specialized facility use fees

· Use of equestrian areas

· Performing art centers

· Game fields fees

· Mule shed fees

If the disabled Veteran cannot drive, the vehicle transporting the Veteran will not be charged.

Veterans must apply in person at the Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters and are required to show official documentation (dated within the past year) from the VA that states they have a 100% service-connected disability.

Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters
1100 Tower Hill Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: 401-667-6200
Email: [email protected]


Resources & ongoing groups 

Below are all the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time! 

***All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at [email protected]*** 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May) 

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. 

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

Stress Management – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. 

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm. 


No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC:  15% military discount, ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibility with a VA Card, VA ID Card, or RI State license with veteran identification. 


Applebee’s – Military Discount. With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty. Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021 

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID 


Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021 

Bass Pro Shops – Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source). 

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021 

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount – “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe. 

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through 

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer. 

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type. 

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! – We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 10% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at 3 select locations: Tioque Ave, Coventry RI – Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI – Park Ave, Cranston RI 

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get – 

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account. 

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly. 

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout. 

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21. 


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward to: [email protected]:  the business’s name, location, and military and veteran discount offered. 

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838) 


To read all columns in this series go to:  

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.