Payment For VA Medical Center Drivers On The Way - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Payment For VA Medical Center Drivers On The Way

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Volunteer drivers at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg said they have become concerned after not receiving their share of a stipend for working in May and June of 2013.

As part of a program unique to West Virginia, volunteer drivers receive a $75 stipend for driving veterans at the VA, as long as drivers spend more than four hours behind the wheel, per day. The drivers typically transport veterans in need of transportation to medical appointments. Volunteers became concerned when they didn't receive payments for working in May or June of 2013.

Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary Rick Thompson said leftover money in other accounts has been identified to pay drivers for their work in May, however funds for June are still unavailable. July funds will become available at the start of the new fiscal year.

"When I took over in June, the program was adopted through legislation as a line item in the budget. The Disabled American Veterans (DAV), which runs the program, had already spent all the money for the year," Thompson said. "I spoke to the legislative committee on veteran affairs, and I think it would be willing to adopt a resolution to avoid this happening in the future."

Thompson said he will encourage the Legislature to find a way to pay volunteers for their work in June.

The processing for June payments began Wednesday, after the funds to pay the drivers were allocated. Thompson said the processing is expected to be completed Thursday, July 25.