Search

Ensuring Snohomish County Veterans Get the Mobility They Need

Snotrac is proud of those who serve our country, and we want to make sure they can get to where they need to go.


Snohomish County is home to an estimated 51,606 veterans; of those veterans; 21,196 are above the age of 65; 2,061 veterans’ income lived below the poverty level for the past 12 months; and 13,322 veterans are living with a disability.*


An estimated 17,749 veterans served during the Vietnam era — this is the highest count of veterans by service period. Veterans consist of 8.7% of the population in Snohomish County, compared to 7% of the national population.


*Data is from US Census 2019 ACS 5-Year Survey, the United States Census Bureau will not release its standard 2020 ACS 1-Year estimates due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection. For more detailed information please see data.census.gov.


Our veterans face unique mobility challenges. Approximately 41% of veterans living in Snohomish County are currently 65 years or older, and 26% of veterans have a disability. These percentages will continue to rise, as 10,384 veterans are currently 55-64 years old.


With 23,019 veterans that served in the Gulf War Era from 1990 to 2001 and later, it is expected that the percent of disabled veterans will also increase. Dependable transportation services and readily accessible information to services will be critical in supporting our aging Veteran and disabled Veteran community.


Veteran Mobility


More than 9 million veterans receive health care from the Department of Veteran Affairs each year. However, transportation to places such as the VA medical centers or community-based outpatient clinics, and other Veteran resources are not a guaranteed service. This poses a major issue for veterans, especially those living in rural areas, living with significant disabilities, or do not have an adequate support network, that lack access to transportation.


Below we highlight some transportation services provided to Snohomish County veterans, look at success stories of expanding transportation access to the veteran community and provide a list of gathered resources veterans can access within Snohomish County and the Puget Sound Region.


Barriers


Within Snohomish County 41% of veterans are 65 or older, 26% are living with a disability, and around 4% have lived below the poverty status for the past 12 months. These are all factors that impact the veteran community’s ability to travel and receive health care or other services.


For instance older veterans may be comfortable with driving close to home, but traveling from Everett to the VA Puget Sound Health Care System located in Seattle may be more difficult.


Cost also presents a barrier, such as paying for fuel, car maintenance, or general cost of public transportation.


Lack of a support network for veterans is also a barrier as family members may not always be available to provide transportation during appointment times.


Veterans living in rural areas often experience a combination of these conditions, in particular, having fewer access to local health care providers compared to veterans living in more urban areas.


These issues are also more prevalent to veterans with mental health concerns, as inability to receive proper care have shown to increase the risk of suicide.


These are all factors that affect Veterans’ quality of life and livelihood.


VA Transportation Programs

Highlighting the Veteran Affairs Programs in Snohomish County:

  • The Beneficiary Travel Program is the VA’s oldest transportation program. The program reimburses eligible veterans or family members for travel costs (mainly mileage costs, costs of special transportation or hired vehicles) to a scheduled VA or VA-authorized health care appointment.

  • The Veteran Transportation Service provides transportation for veterans to a scheduled VA or VA-authorized health care appointment. The program began as a piolet program in 2010, and has resulted in better health care outcomes for veterans and lowered cost for the VA, for example in 2014 the VA spent $12 million less than if trips were reimbursed through the Beneficiary Travel Program.

  • The Disabled American Veterans, or "DAV," is a transportation program that operates closely with Veteran Affair Medical Centers. The DAV donates purchased vehicles to Veteran Affair Medical Centers, arrange rides for veterans, and DAV volunteers operate the vehicle. Services are free and can provide transportation to qualified veterans to American Lake and Seattle VA Medical Centers. Qualified riders must be able to walk as vehicles are not lift-equipped.

Understanding Needs and Improving Transportation

Developing relationships between Veteran Transportation mobility managers and community partners have improved availability of transportation and accessibility of information for veterans.

  • Austin, Texas: Veteran Transportation Services Regional Coordinator partnered with TxDOT to inform transit providers of Veterans’ transportation needs, also encouraging human service agencies to refer veterans to VTS. This led to Austin-based Capitol Area Rural Transit System (CARTS) and Temple-based Hop to coordinate transfer points for rural veterans to VTS vans.

  • Roseburg, Oregon: VTS mobility manager partners with TransLink to allow veterans to fill empty seats on Medicaid-funded services. A $100,000 grant from the state pays for rides on TransLink. They were also able to work with UTrans to allow veterans to purchase a $30 pass for unlimited rides. Demand for the service has created a permanent route for UTrans vans to travel twice a week to Roseburg VAMC.

  • Seattle: Hopelink was able to develop a centralized on-line resource of all public and private transportation services for Veterans ,VetsGO, which has now been incorporated into a larger database FindaRide.org. The website allows riders to plan trips and locate services. Hopelink is continuing outreach to educate the community.

To learn more, read the Meeting the Health Care Access Needs of Veterans (PDF) report by the National Center for Mobility Management.


Currently, Snotrac is also researching to understand veteran needs in Snohomish County, and how best to advocate for their needs. Transportation services are critical to the support of veterans and their livelihood. Continuous improvement to existing transportation services, information accessibility, and community outreach is a duty to our veterans.


Are you a veteran in Snohomish County? Take Snotrac's Snohomish County Veterans Survey
Snotrac is looking to better understand the transportation needs of veterans living in Snohomish County. If you or your organization would like to participate in this survey, please select the link below. Any help getting this survey out is also greatly appreciated.
Take the survey >>

Transportation Services for Veterans in Snohomish County


Beneficiary Travel Benefits

Veterans maybe eligible for mileage reimbursement or special mode transport when receiving care from VA health care services. Learn more at:

Veteran Transportation Service

Veterans who are currently eligible for VA health care benefits and have authorized appointments are eligible for Veterans Health Administration’s Veteran Transportation Services. The Veteran Transportation Service is designed to serve remote and immobilized VA patients, while building to improve access to VA healthcare. Learn more at

Disability American Veterans (DAV) Volunteer Transportation Network

DAV provides free transportation to VA medical facilities for veterans. Veteran riders must be able to walk, as vehicles are not lift-equipped. They are operated by the Volunteer Transportation Network (VTN) in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties and can drive qualified veterans to both American Lake and Seattle VA Medical Centers. The program services from Monday – Friday, and rides must be booked 5 days in advance. Pick-ups are between 7 and 8:30 a.m. for appointments between 9:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. There is no service to Seattle VA on last Friday of the month. Learn more:

Veterans Assistance Program

The Snohomish County Human Services Department operates the Veterans Assistance Program, providing limited emergency financial assistance to eligible veterans and dependents in Snohomish County. Assistance may include help for rent, utilities, food, transportation, and many other needs. Learn more:

Network of Care

The Snohomish County Network of Care provides a wide range of services and information to veterans and their families. On their website, you can find available resources for crisis Intervention (emergency shelter, sexual assault hotline, suicide prevention hotlines, mental health crisis lines); healthcare; housing; and employment. Learn more:

Veteran Well-being

The Everett Vet Center offers no cost confidential help for veterans, service members, and their families in a non-medical setting. Counseling services include: couple and family counseling; grief and bereavement counseling; mental health care; military sexual trauma care; PTSD care; returning service member care (transition counseling); whole care; and referral services for addiction, substance abuse, homeless veteran care, suicide prevention, and veteran connections. Learn more:

Hero’s Café

Hero’s Café is a monthly gathering for all veterans to foster positive outreach, interaction, and welfare within neighboring communities. The group meets on the last Tuesday of each month from 9am-1:30pm at New Life Church, 6519 188th St. SW Lynnwood. Event is free and no pre-registration is required. For more information regarding Hero’s Café, please contact Gray Walderman at americanheroescafe@gmail.com. Learn more:


More Veteran Resources


6 views0 comments