Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What would you like to know about us?

ABOUT US

How many paralyzed veterans are there in the United States?
There are an estimated 100,000 American veterans with a spinal cord injury or disease. However, the work performed by Paralyzed Veterans of America benefits all veterans and all individuals with a disability.

What is the difference between Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans?
Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) work closely together on issues of mutual concern. However, only Paralyzed Veterans is concerned with veterans with catastrophic disabilities and paralyzed veterans, and our programs reflect this focus of interest. The DAV’s focus is different than ours because most of their members are not wheelchair users.
 
Do Paralyzed Veterans programs and services overlap or duplicate government programs?
No. In fact, the programs offered by Paralyzed Veterans often fill a void created by cuts to services previously offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies — making our advocacy for veterans even more vital. Find out how you can support our vital veterans programs.
 
Does Paralyzed Veterans support or partner with Planned Parenthood?  
No. Paralyzed Veterans neither supports nor opposes Planned Parenthood. The position of Paralyzed Veterans is that veterans with service-connected disabilities — like traumatic spinal cord injury — who suffer infertility due to military service should have access to fertility assistance, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The Department of Defense and the VA currently provide IVF benefits to active duty service members. Paralyzed Veterans wants the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to provide the same benefit to injured veterans who have already left the military.

Are animals used in spinal cord injury research funded by Paralyzed Veterans?
Yes. Our spinal cord research foundations are intended to support the most promising research projects in the country. On occasion, this means that Paralyzed Veterans may be funding research that uses laboratory animals.
 
If you prefer that your donations not be used for this purpose, we will be happy to restrict your gifts to one of our other programs. To contact us regarding this request, please call 800-555-9140 or e-mail donorservices@pva.org.
 
How can I be added to your mailing list?
Send an email to donorservices@pva.org. Or call us at 800-555-9140. You can also sign up for email updates and newsletters.
 
Can I get more address labels and/or greeting cards?
Yes. Just call Donor Services at 800-555-9140 or send an e-mail to donorservices@pva.org.
 
Why do you have so many addresses?
There are three official locations for Paralyzed Veterans of America and each is used for a different purpose. Our National Office — where we conduct most of our administrative and managerial activities — is located in Washington, DC. Our facility in Wilton, New Hampshire, has been used for over 30 years to process mail and manage our mailing list. And our Topeka, Kansas facility is dedicated to smaller programs and donation processing.
 
I contacted Paralyzed Veterans about a change in my contact information. But I’m still receiving mailings with the incorrect information. How can I resolve this?
We apologize for any inconvenience. Our mailings are prepared months in advance. You probably received materials that were already produced and ready to be sent out before we were informed of your request. It might take up to eight weeks before the change you gave us can be processed.
 
To update your address or other information, please call 800-555-9140 or send an e-mail to donorservices@pva.org. We appreciate your continuing interest in Paralyzed Veterans of America.

SUPPORT SERVICES

Who can become a PVA member? 
Membership is free and open to anyone who:

  • Is a citizen of the United States

  • Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces with an honorable discharge

  • Has suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of trauma or disease which resulted in paralysis of more than one limb. The injury or disease does not need to be service-connected and can have occurred following a veteran’s discharge or retirement from military service.

  • Learn more about membership eligibility.

What is disability compensation and what are the qualifications for this benefit?   
Disability compensation is a tax-free financial benefit paid to veterans who are considered at least 10 percent disabled due to an injury or disease that occurred or became worse during active military service. This is true even if the disability arises after active service is over. The disability can be a physical condition, such as spinal cord injury, or a mental health issue, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
 
To learn more about your eligibility for disability benefits, call the Veterans Benefits Helpline at 866-734-0857/TTY 800-795-4327, send an email to info@pva.org, or speak with a Paralyzed Veterans National Service Officer in your area.

What determines the amount of disability compensation I can receive? 
The benefit amount ranges from 10 percent to 100 percent, depending on the veteran’s disability rating. (“Disability Rating” refers to the level of impairment a veteran is living with.) Disability compensation may be affected if a veteran receives military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments. Learn more about veteran benefits.
 
Who qualifies for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pension benefit? 
The VA provides tax-free, supplemental income to low-income wartime veterans through the Veterans Pension benefit. To qualify, a veteran must have at least 90 days of active duty service, with at least one day during a wartime period.
 
Veterans entering active duty service after Sept. 7, 1980 must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were ordered to active duty, with at least one day during a wartime period.
 
The pension benefit also requires that veterans be:

  • Age 65 or older

  • Totally and permanently disabled

  • A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care

  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

 
In addition, the veteran’s yearly income must be less than the amount set by Congress.
 
Learn more about veteran benefits.
 
How do I apply for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits? 
You can apply for benefits through our network of National Service Offices. One of our trained National Service Officers will work with you to submit and manage your claim with the VA. Find a National Service Office in your area.
 
Any service member, veteran, dependent or survivor seeking benefits, entitlements and medical care from the VA is eligible for the free services offered by our Veterans Benefits Department.
 
Can I appeal a benefits application that has been declined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)? 
Yes. Any decision made by the VA regarding an application for benefits — including disability, healthcare, or cemetery benefits — can be appealed for any reason. Veterans have up to one year from the date of their first denial to appeal the decision. Find out how our legal services department can help with an appeal.
 
I just got out of the service. Where can I go for help finding a job?
Paralyzed Veterans offers a premier vocational rehabilitation program called Operation PAVE (Paving Access to Veterans Employment). This job counseling and training program provides a variety of free employment services to veterans and their dependents, including one-on-one career counseling, resume writing assistance, interview coaching, vocational counseling and networking opportunities. Contact Shelly Edwards at 202-416-7795 or shellye@pva.org for more information.
 
I am a veteran in need of legal services. Can you help me?
Yes.  Our legal services department can help. Our attorneys have litigated hundreds of cases on behalf of our members and other veterans to ensure that they receive all the benefits they have earned.
 
Our Appellate Services legal staff will work directly with you (or a member of your family) and your local National Service Officer to gather evidence and present a written and/or oral argument before the Board of Veterans Appeals.
 
Paralyzed Veterans will also provide free legal representation to veterans and active duty service members for hearings in front of military Physical Evaluation Boards, Boards of Correction for Military Records, and Discharge Review Boards.

Learn more about our legal services.

ADAPTIVE SPORTS

I’d like to volunteer with Paralyzed Veterans. How can I get involved?
Paralyzed Veterans has 34 chapters across the country and each one has its own volunteer program offering a wide variety of service opportunities. Learn more about our chapters
 
Find a Paralyzed Veterans Chapter near you. 
 
If there isn’t a chapter where you live, you can also volunteer with your local Veterans Administration’s (VA) Voluntary Service program. When you sign up with the VA, just let them know that you are volunteering your time in the name of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
 
What are the qualifications for a Paralyzed Veterans adaptive sports program? 
Paralyzed Veterans Adaptive Sports programs are open to all individuals with disabilities, including people with amputation, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Only the National Veterans Wheelchair Games are exclusively for military veterans.
 
Learn more about our wide variety of adaptive sports programs.
 
How do I join a Paralyzed Veterans of America sports team? 
Paralyzed Veterans sports and game programs and clinics are open to all individuals with disabilities, even if you’ve never done wheelchair sports before. Learn how to get involved with our sports programs.

WAYS TO GIVE

How do I make a donation?
Thank you for your support! You can click here to make a donation now or call us at 800-555-9140. If you would prefer to mail your donation, please send your contribution to:
Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 18th St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
Attn: Donor Support

Are there multiple ways to donate? 
Yes, there are many different ways to donate and give your support to Paralyzed Veterans and all of them are equally appreciated. You can give your financial support through our monthly donor program or our planned or corporate giving.  Or you can donate in the name of a loved one through honor and memorial giving.
 
We also take donations of household goods and used clothing as well as vehicles, boats, RVs and motorcycles.
 
Learn about all the ways you can support out veterans.
 
Can I call Paralyzed Veterans of America to make a donation?
Yes. Please call Donor Services at 800-555-9140.

Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes. According to the Internal Revenue Service code, Paralyzed Veterans of America is a 501c3 organization, which means that all of your contributions are fully tax-deductible. Our Tax ID # is 13-1946868.

What is a matching gift? How do I make a donation that my employer will match?
Many companies across America recognize the value of donating to Paralyzed Veterans and offer matching gift programs to further increase the value of their employees’ donations. If you are interested in providing a matching gift, please request a matching gifts form from your company and mail the completed form to our corporate headquarters: 
Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Attn: Beth Buechner
800-424-8200, ext. 642
BethB@pva.org 

Learn more about matching gift donations.
 
How do I put Paralyzed Veterans in my will?
To include Paralyzed Veterans in your will, please contact Dave Fanning, Senior Development Officer and Managing Director of Planned Giving at 1-800-424-8200 or DavidF@pva.org.

What is a gift annuity?
A Charitable Gift Annuity is an arrangement whereby you transfer assets (usually cash or marketable securities) to a charitable organization, such as Paralyzed Veterans. In return, Paralyzed Veterans promises to pay you an annuity — a fixed dollar amount each year — for life.
 
For more information contact Dave Fanning, Associate Director of Individual Giving, at 800-424-8200 or DavidF@pva.org.

Can I make a gift in memory or honor of someone?
Yes, you can participate in honor and memorial giving by making a donation to Paralyzed Veterans on behalf of a friend or a loved one. Once we have received your donation, we will send a notification to the person of your choice.
 
To make a tribute donation, please call Donor Services at 800-555-9140. You may also send a check, along with the details of your donation, to:
Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 18th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Attn: Donor Services

I need a receipt for tax purposes. Can you send me one?
We will be happy to send you a receipt. Simply email your request — along with your name, mailing address, and ZIP code — to donorservices@pva.org. You can also call us at 800-555-9140.

Does Paralyzed Veterans participate in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)?
Yes, Paralyzed Veterans participates in the Combined Federal Campaign through our research and education foundations and our outdoor sports program. If you are a federal employee and wish to designate a gift through CFC, please use the following codes:

Our Research Foundation is listed as CFC code <2096
Our Education Foundation is listed as CFC code <1958

For more information, please contact Stacy Ale at 800-424-8200, ext. 255, or at StacyA@pva.org.
 
Does Paralyzed Veterans participate in workplace giving campaigns such as the United Way?
Yes, we are honored to be included in the United Way’s workplace giving campaigns where employees are able to make pledges in the form of payroll deductions. Our United Way designations are as follows:

Research Foundation may be designated with United Way code >577
Education Foundation may be designated with United Way code >119

For more information about donating to Paralyzed Veterans through the United Way, please contact Stacy Ale at 800-424-8200, ext. 255, or at StacyA@pva.org.
 
Doesn't the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) help our veterans? Why do you need my donation? 
Paralyzed Veterans is not related to the VA and does not receive funding from the federal government or the VA. We depend on the public’s generosity to fund our essential programs. Learn more about the different ways you can support our veterans.
 
Does Paralyzed Veterans pay for TV/Radio/Website advertising? 
Paralyzed Veterans produces Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for radio and television to inform and educate the public about the work we do to assist veterans. These PSAs are distributed broadly to radio and TV networks and stations across the country to be aired at their discretion. These outlets donate media time to air these messages as part of their public service commitment. Paralyzed Veterans does not pay for the airtime.
 
In addition to PSAs, Paralyzed Veterans also runs a series of direct response television (DRTV) campaigns to solicit support for our organization and the various programs and services we provide to veterans free of charge. These are paid advertising spots that air on select websites and radio/TV networks.
 
The choice of stations and networks that are selected to run our PSAs and DRTV campaigns is based on the scope and diversity of general viewership. Paralyzed Veterans does not affiliate with a particular political party or align itself with ideologies beyond our focus of ensuring full benefits and quality of life for veterans with spinal cord dysfunction and their families.

If you would like to support our PSA campaign by running our PSAs in donated media or for more information about our DRTV campaigns, please contact Tracey Shifflett at 202-416-7670 or at traceys@pva.org.
 
What is your cost of fundraising?
Our cost of fundraising is 21.7%, which is normal for organizations like Paralyzed Veterans that depend heavily on small contributions from large numbers of people. We encourage you to review our financial governance documents.
 
Why do you mail so many fundraising solicitations?
Over the years we have found that most Paralyzed Veterans donors like to hear from us on a regular basis. We also like to keep our donors informed of our activities, even if a donation is not made in response to every solicitation.
 
However, we realize that some donors prefer to hear from us less often. Please let us know if you would like us to limit the number of solicitations you receive by calling 800-555-9140 or emailing us at donorservices@pva.org.
 
Can I see a copy of Paralyzed Veterans' most recent financial statement?
Yes. Our financial statements and annual report are available for the public to review.
 
Can I see a breakdown by percentage of how much Paralyzed Veterans spends on fundraising and administrative costs as compared to the amount that goes to program services?
Yes. You can see a thorough breakdown of what percentage of your donation goes to fundraising, administration and program services by reviewing our financial statements.