Anyone know how to get the VA to get a disabled vet, a TT or if it is possible?

Over on Bent Rider forums guys are saying the VA will help disabled vets get a Bent.. Well today I went in for my check up and inquired. No one had a clue..

Seeing how TT is here in Grand Rapids (MI) I thought I would ask here if anyone has had any success in getting any Michigan VA to help them get any kind of Bent?



  • I've heard a doctor has to write a prescription and then the VA or other insurance may cover all of part of the cost. Sorry to be vague.

  • I know the Wounded Warrior Project has done great things for many, many people.  According to this site, they will help you understand what VA benefits are available and how to get them.

    Also, the VA has a Recreation Therapy program.  Most providers are new and don't know what all is available.  This program may be what you need to get your equipment.  
  • What i found out is this:

    The VA program and assistance to get a trike or recumbent bike is dependent on the hospital you are working with. It seems that it varies from hospital to hospital across the country. From what I found out, is that you have to get a referral from your regular team doctor to physical therapy and then from physical therapy the person from there has to get involved to get the ball rolling. The problem is that the person running the physical therapy dept might not be very motivated even though there is funding for this. Another problem is they may have some vendor they work with that builds bikes or trike through some organization that donates them to vets but those trikes are no where near the quality or build of what you would expect.

    This is a "multiple" type of question to answer.

    1. Yes --- The U.S. Veteran Affairs will fund a trike to a person that is
    in their system. I do not know the level of "disability" ( % ) that is their
    starting point on this.

    2. They have a "grant limit" for a trike. It is $2,999.99 for a trike. If
    for some reason the trike and person requesting a trike is above this
    amount --- me thinks it must be approved by an act of congress.

    2a. If the Applying Veteran is in a State that requires a Front Light that Shines
    --- The trike is supplied with a Electric Light. An example is The State of Michigan.

    2b. If the Applying Veteran is in a State has a barely enough reflector on the front
    of the trike --- this is what they get. An example is The State of Colorado.

    3. The Trike is paid for by The Veteran Affairs --- as the trike is presented by
    the vendor of that trike - in the level of that trike. This means if The Trike is
    offered with a Rear View Mirror or a Fender --- The VA will accept this.

    Start with speaking with Your Heath Provider if you are not presently in some type
    of program.

    Your opening comment can be to ask to be in a "Get Healthy - Be Healthy - and
    Stay Healthy Program or plan. This is the get out and exercise part --- with a
    pleasant State of Mind.

    The next part is they will refer you to their Recreation Therapist whose name is
    followed by ...MS, CTRS, NASM-CPT and the like. Do as they say.

    3a. If the Applying Veteran says, " .. What about a Mirror"? The VA will not
    accept this because it is called ..."an accessory".

    This is for any Safety Item such as Lights - Alert Horns - Fenders - Rear Carrying
    Racks - Mirrors and even Pedals.

  • Right now I would be thrilled to death if I could just get a Rambler. Can't ride the stick bikes anymore. Friend over at the GR Vets home got a rambler donated to him, and he loves it. Ive ridden it several times, so I know that having one of these will make a difference in my health situation.

    So, I will keep track of what I go thru, at the VA, and let everyone know the results.

  • Having worked for the government for many years, I know you have to be very persistent.  Many people think because they don't know about a program, it doesn't exist.

    I have seen many trikes with hand pedals designed specifically for amputees.  Commercial companies would not develop these products if there was not a market for them.  As a government employee, I was asked to contribute to the Combined Federal Campaign (DoD version of United Way) which listed hundreds of non-profit programs to help injured military.  I used to contribute to one that modified veterans homes to adapt them to a wheelchair.

    Use the mental aspect of getting a trike when talking to the VA.  If it will help your mental health, they should be willing to buy you a trike.  I know riding does wonders for my mental health.  Wish I had more access to riding while I was working in DC!
  • Well its not just physical health for my heart and diabetes, but yes the mental health too of knowing that I have a device that can get me to the store, and carry groceries home if have to use it for that..

    I can give them a bunch of valid reasons to help me get one.  Just need to know the process of doing so, so that I can tell THEM how others have done it, for them to use as a guide..
  • If they don't fully fund a trike, set up a FUND ME account.  I don't make a lot in retirement but I would be happy to contribute.  I know what you military go through I am support you 110%

    BTW, my son is an Air Force pilot who has been to Afghanistan so many times, I've lost count!
  • Can't do a fund me account.. Im on disability.. the money would be considered INCOME not a gift.

  • No.  They are providing help on arm powered trikes but you won't get much help with a standard trike.  I am a 100% combat disabled vet from the Vietnam conflict and draw a disability from the Va for it and have tried this before.  
  • Go to YUKU Vets and post the question to RON19 (he is the best veteran service officer there is) and he WILL know the answer or will tell you where to go.  Sounds like there is a physical reason you may need this trike.  I am guessing you do not drive.  Good luck.
  • yeah, I saw all that too, but since TT is made right here in Grand Rapids, Mi where I am, I thought I would also ask the question on THEIR forum..  and everyone is sending me to bent rider forum.. haha.
  • well, I was hoping to find that someone LOCALLY had gone thru this before, and would respond. I guess not. Oh well..  time to end this thread.

  • I was on another trike message board when I came across this charity.  I never knew about the ride in DC when I lived there but I would love to try it now.

    You might contact this organization to see if they help to convince the VA to purchase a trike.  I'm going to contact them to see if the local VA hospital organizes these rides or needs trike riders to ride with disabled vets.  Now that would be fun!

  • well, the rover may be the one, for most, but a vet at our local vets home has a Rambler and thats what I want to get, one like his, well almost..

  • Well . I spoke with both Ann Arbor VA hospital Rehab and Fort Custer
    (Battle Creek) hospital rehab people in a conference call.. NONE of them
    have any kind of a program like this, nor have heard of one.. Every VA
    is different. Things have changed since 2006, when most of the people on Bent rider forum got theirs. Some VA's get a program, others do not..  We have NOTHING like this in Michigan.

    Shame really. Michigan has 660,000 vets, and 30,000 in my county alone.
    yet we don't have a program like this that can help veterans get a Bent.. And Terra Trike is made right here in my City. This would be a great PR tool for them.

    I want a Rambler so bad I can taste it.. but living on SS disability just doesn't allow it.  Oh well..
  • Ok.. time to end this tread, until such time as something MAJOR changes.
    Fact is, 99 percent of disabled vets will be extremely lucky if someone
    or some group gets them a recumbent trike, if they cannot afford it
    themselves. There currently is no program with any of the major
    manufactures to help vets. And most charities claiming to help vets have
    too many restrictions for those who could benefit from them the most
    from getting one.   Very disappointing.

    I have decided, that I will no longer support any so called veterans organization or charity that restricts its help to only those veterans who were involved in a declared war or served during a declare war time whether or not they were actually in the war zone.

    Until these organizations recognize that since 1973 we have had an all volunteer military, and all honorable discharged Veterans, who are living at or below the poverty line should have equal access to the help they need, I will not be supporting their causes, nor will I recognize them as a true organization for veterans.

  • I served and feel so bad regarding how those that were injured during their service are not cared for by our country.
    I also have a dislike for the majority of so called Veterans groups. Wounder Warrior is now in the spotlight.
  • I'm so sorry that the VA is not serving your needs.  As a DoD employee, I heard the horror stories.  Before retiring, I tried very hard to get a job with the VA.  I was willing to take a reduction in grade to come back to Florida.  But now veterans get chosen first over long-term civilian employees.  I managed a function that brought in money for the Air Force.  I really thought I could make a difference for the VA.

    Did you try calling your US Representative?  Complaining about the VA is a high profile concern in DC these days.  Keeping veterans healthy will reduce medical costs.  Spending $2000 on a trike could save them hundreds of thousands in medical treatments later.

    This page has some details you can take to both the VA and your Rep to convince them a trike is worht the cost.
  • edited March 2016
    el-64, no offense.. if I need a motor, I will get a motor cycle, a scooter, or a powered wheel chair. the purpose of having a bent, is to get exercise, not just sit there and ride.  Its a proven fact at our vets home.. once these guys plant their butts in one of those hovaround powered wheel chairs they stop walking.. and once you do that, you're doomed to depend on them.

    The bent bikes are the exercise that is closest to using a new step machine which is what i used for heart surgery recovery. THOSE things go no where and cost 5-8 thousand dollars.  A good bent might cost at most 4k. The Rambler I want will be close to 2 and I can use it year round with the indoor training rollers.

    My friend charlie who is a resident at, and who runs the bike shop at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, has one and he uses it every day, rain or shine, or snow. (Im in Grand Rapids, Mich, home of Terra Trike).  And yes, i am using him as the example of the benefits of having a trike. They have 5 speicalty ones there, and no one uses them. They have 1 rover with internal gear hub on back, and its always being used, and of course he has his own personal one.

    I agree with you on the rear hub configuration.. but I still want the 3 gears up front. Charlie just has the 8 or 9 gear internal nuvinci (spelling) hub on the back of his.

    What I would like to see is a Non profit tax deductible group, offer these things to people and have them shipped to them assembled and ready to go, where ever they are if they qualify for one. Maybe we could get TT to give us a price break and be a co-sponsor of the group.

    As for getting the VA to cover it, that will be a MAJOR undertaking. As stated before, I had a conference call with the top people in the rehab departments at the Ann Arbor, Battle creek hospitals and our own local GR Clinic. Every location is different and if we did this, we would have to have congress make major changes to the VA, to make the program available to all veterans regardless of where they are.

    Its a great idea.. and the benefits to all would make it a win win situation for all. Especially if we did it the way the Independence fund does their program, where if the vet gives up the bent or passes on, the trike is donated back to the organization to be given to another vet in need.

    And FYI, Ambucs is coming out with their own version of a tadpole in May of this year. Not sure what impact that will have on the needs of vets, but I would prefer giving vets a brand name trike that they can accessorize more easily.

    I don't even own one yet, but I already have a lighted flag pole, light, front and back lights, helmet with a "da brim" on it.. Next im working on getting a ride computer, and a Go Pro camera for it.. Once I get a bent, I will of course get the wheel covers, and rack system.  I am also putting together my "repair kit". I will have one some day, But I may have to wait until next year.

  • Mac, I will let Elrique try to sell you on the merits of having an electrified trike. I'll limit myself to saying the use of the motor is to provide additional assistance when needed.

    For myself I question why you seem to feel you need a trike with a 3-speed crankset. All that is going to do for you with stock configurations is give you more top end (high speed) gearing while doing nothing for the low end hill-climbing ability. A 24 speed (3 X 8 combo) trike really has only 16 usable gears and the 27 speed (3 X 9 combo) only gives you two more usable gears. What you have with either of those combos is the base 8 or 9 gears running from the middle chainring at the front plus the 4 largest rear sprockets running on the smallest front sprocket and the 4 smallest rear sprockets running on the largest front sprocket. You also have the humbug of having a derailleur-based system.... must be moving in order to shift, cannot shift under heavy load, propensity for throwing and/or breaking chains, frequent need of derailleur adjustments. I speak from experience in that regard. I rode several thousand miles on a derailleur system equipped 10-speed lightweight touring bike that I converted to 15 speeds.

    The long and short of what I'm trying to say is that you probably don't need (although you might think you want) the high speed gearing that's available with the 24 and 27 speed configs. IMO, you would be much better served with an 8 speed internal hub gear like what or are familiar with already or, even better yet, with a NuVinci constant velocity transmission. The 8-speed IGH has an effective gear-inch range of 24 to 66 inches. The NuVinci N360 has an effective range of 20 to 72 inches. I have the N360 and dearly love that thing. I find myself in the middle of its gear-inch range most of the time with only rare excursions to the lowest gear and even more rarely to the highest gear.

    End of rant ;-)
  • What I did was followed the advice given to me on Bent Rider forums. Seems no one in this area knows anything about anything.  AGAIN, after having a discussion in a teleconferance with our 2 big hospital Rehab people and our local clinic, We have a case where no one seems to know what is going on.. or maybe that they CAN do something like this.  I think i comes down to the fact that they don't want to spend the money.

  • ok guys, FYI.. here is my situation.. Im a coldwar vet, served 81-87. My disability is after service, but could be service related, if I can get the right service officer.. Ive had 4 heart attacks. one in 2002, diagnosed wrong, and a 2nd putting me on the ground in 2011 when I was living at our vets home, which resulted in a quad bypass at the VA Ann Arbor hospital. then 2 minor ones in 2014 which resulted in 3 stints being put in. I went from 220 to 450 lbs with severe edema in my legs. Im now down to 350. I went thru cardio rehab using a nu-step machine twice for 6 months 3 times a week. Riding a bent is the closest I have found that is similar to riding that nu-step.  When i found out about the bents, no one here knew anything about them. Its been a year.. Then this last Christmas Charlie asked for one for Christmas and Im told WXMI one of our local tv stations got him one. By the time i found about about TT, I was told they shut down their show room, and go thru a local dealer only.  and i was directed to bend rider forums, NOT HERE.  So started investigating how to get the VA to get me a bent for exercise which I know i will benefit from greatly seeing how i also have degenerative arthritis in my lower back. (as I write this its blown again and im taking heavy pain meds for it). I can hardly walk 1 full city block, and am slow when i do it.

    Now I have had the chance to ride charlies TT rambler and I did 2 hours on it riding around the vets home complex. It was great. So I started inquiring about the VA and I keep getting the run around from them.  I will inquire once again, with my care provider. But I am told that our rehab people prefer to send you to a local gym for this instead of getting individual pieces of exercise equipment. This would not be good for me as such places are Germ intensive locations, and after being on Antibiotics for 5 years for ongoing UT infections, the last thing i want to do is go somewhere where I will be exposed to a lot of stuff as my immunity system is recovering right now.  Im 53.I FINALLY managed to quit smoking this yer, cause I want a trike so bad. it would be a big benefit to me.. I just gotta figure out how to get the Grand Rapids VA clinic to understand this and to do what needs to be done.

  • El-64, It is my (and others) experiance, that as peace time vets ( volunteers after 73,) who served but who are disabled but not service connected, and/or not "combat vets" even though many of us spent time in combat zones and just don't get credit for it, cannot get the help we need.

    I am part of the HUD VASH program, and we hold monthly meetings and support groups at our outreach center, and i am highly active in those groups. Many poor vets, disabled and such cannot get help they need for what ever reason they need it. Going from homeless to having a place to live is great, but you need things to do that. Beds, furniture, Bathroom materials, (towels and wash cloths), kitchen supplies, (pots pans, cooking utensils)  plates, ect.. and CLOTHING..  all hard to get when your budget is less than 1500 a month or less for more than 1 or more people.

    Too many organizations concentrate on helping so called war vets. This group includes people who were never in the war, but served during the war time, some having never left the US!  they get help.. But folks like us, don't get squat. its a struggle. and a need that is NOT being filled  by any so called vets organizations. at least not those around here.

    I really would like to see an organization that would help vets get into bents. They would be a huge beneift to so many of us.

  • Riding in hilly terrain and no assist I'll take all 27 gears !
  • Well Tced, I have heard that the 27 gears really are not necessarily 27 different speeds. The more I look into this, the more I am interested in getting the internal rear hub, and either the external 3 gear hub in the front, or a schaumpf drive in the front - but that costs almost 600 bucks!  for riding in our area in west michigan, My friend charlie has the 8 gear internal rear hub only and he says thats enough for most of what we do.. and when I get my ride, if I ever get one, I have at least one major hill that will test me.. so I am looking at various configurations.. I do like the idea of the internal rear hubs.. less to go wrong, and less chance of a chain derailment.
  • It depends greatly on the terrain.  I got my trike in 2014 when I lived in Fairfax County Virginia.  It is an area where I would hate to drive a stick shift because there is a hill at every intersection.  I used from 2nd to 5th gear on my trike.  In the urban area, there was never a long stretch where I could get to the higher gears.

    Now that I'm in flat South Florida, the 8 internal gears are not enough.  The Rover 8 internal comes with a 32T front gear.  I was give a 38T front gear and it dropped me down one gear.  I spend more in 7th than 8th now but, as my stamina grows, it will not be enough either.  

    Having three gears on the front would allow you to ride your trike anywhere.  Do you plan on staying in Michigan or go around the country riding?  That's the question you need to answer.
  • Florida - I plan on staying here in Michigan..

    El-64, I  cut and pasted part of your one message to the nurse I work with at the local clinic, on the myhealthvet site early this morning.. waiting for a reply.. Im not giving up on this if I can move it forward.. will keep ya informed..

    Charlie has the nexus 8, yes.. on his rambler. 
    As for local groups, I own't touch VFW, and our AL is out of touch with reality here.. I gotta be carefule of Gofundme stuff as it will effect my SS Disability.  plus im watching the local craigs list.. sometimes ya can get a good used one cheap there..
    which will be good for a starter one.

  • Macwildstar
    Suggestion. Forget the go pro, use that money towards a used rover.
  • nope. believe it or not the bikes rating is half of what it can handle. but I won't be 350 by the time I get one. will be closer to 280 by then.. if i am able to continue what im doing now..

    I will NEVER go motorized.. period. im in no hurry. I can stop, take a break

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