The United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. (USEF) supports Paralympic-eligible military veterans in their efforts to represent the USA at the Paralympic Games and other international sport competitions. Veterans who demonstrate exceptional sport skills and the commitment necessary to pursue elite-level competition are given guidance on securing the training, support, and coaching needed to qualify for Team USA and achieve their Paralympic dreams.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA National Veterans Sports Programs & Special Events Office provides a monthly assistance allowance for disabled Veterans of the Armed Forces training in a Paralympic sport, as authorized by 38 U.S.C. § 322(d) and section 703 of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008.
Through the program the VA will pay a monthly allowance to a Veteran with a service-connected or
non-service-connected disability if the Veteran meets the minimum VA Monthly Assistance Allowance (VMAA) Standard in his/her respective sport and sport class at a recognized competition.
Athletes must have established training and competition plans and are responsible for turning in monthly and/or quarterly forms and reports in order to continue receiving the monthly assistance allowance. Additionally, an athlete must be U.S. citizen OR permanent resident to be eligible. Lastly, in order to be eligible for the VMAA athletes must undergo either national or international classification evaluation (and be found Paralympic sport eligible) within six months of being placed on the allowance pay list.
Evaluative criteria differ from sport to sport and can vary from open tryouts, invitation only tryouts, world rankings, achievement standards or a combination of standards and tryouts. The VMAA Standard for each sport is determined by the respective National Governing Body (NGB) or Paralympic High Performance Management Organization (HPMO), in partnership with the USOC, based on the sport and/or discipline/event international competitive analysis and existing athlete pipeline. Generally, the VMAA Standard is 25% back from the respective sports’ national team criteria or equal to the USEF determined Minimum Qualifying Standard (MQS) where applicable. To learn more about the specific sport standards, the VMAA, or sport pipelines, contact USEF Director of Para Equestrian, Laureen Johnson at 859-225-7693 or [email protected].
The allowance rate per-month for an athlete approved for the VMAA is based on dependent status as explained by 38 U.S.C., Chapter 31.