Invitational Travel Orders (ITOs) are issued when doctors determine that the presence of a family member is essential to the recovery of a wounded, ill, or injured service member. When you receive ITOs, you're eligible to receive money for travel, lodging, and daily food expenses. This daily expense reimbursement is called a "per diem." The following information will help you understand who is entitled to ITOs, what ITOs do and do not cover, and where to find help if you need it.
Which family members receive ITOs?
ITOs are offered to immediate family members (spouse, children, mother, father, siblings, and step-siblings) or to people acting in loco parentis (in place of the parents). The family members make the decision as to who should travel to see your service member. In general, up to three family members can receive ITOs to visit a seriously injured service member.
Other family members and guests are also welcome to visit your service member, but if they don't receive ITOs they will have to pay their own expenses.
Visitors who don't have travel orders or a military ID card may sometimes have difficulty entering secure areas of a military treatment facility (MTF) or using facility resources. Be sure to talk with your Recovery Team about how to make arrangements for additional guests.
What expenses are covered by ITOs?
For each family member on travel orders, reimbursement can be made for:
- one round-trip ticket from your home to the hospital, or mileage if you drive
- lodging expenses within a certain cost limit
- per diem ("per day") expenses for food and necessities
The amount of money you receive in the per diem will vary depending on the average cost of living in your location. Ask someone at the MTF Finance Office to tell you the amount of the current local per diem and lodging rates.
Keep in mind that some expenses are not covered by travel orders. These may include telephone calls, taxis, rental cars, or other expenses. You'll be expected to pay expenses not covered by travel orders with your own money.
Who can answer my questions about ITOs?
- MTF Finance Office. Each MTF has a liaison in its Finance Office who can help answer your questions about travel orders. Be sure to get to know your liaison as soon as you can. Each Service branch handles travel orders somewhat differently, so you may also need to ask your Service branch representative for more details.
- The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). DFAS has a special phone number to help you with questions about ITOs and other "travel pay" issues. Call 1-888-332-7366 or visit their website. For specific Wounded Warrior casualty travel questions, call 317-510-3562.
- Service branch Wounded Warrior Programs. When you have questions about your service member's nonmedical needs, the first program to contact is the program associated with your service member's branch of Service.
- U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2). AW2 is the Army's support, advocacy, and information system for severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and their families. See their website for links to resources and a description of AW2's Life Cycle of Support. The website also contains a tool that lets you locate the AW2 advocate in your area. Call 1-800-237-1336 from 8:00am to 7:00pm EST, Monday - Friday.
- U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR). WWR provides and facilitates assistance to wounded, ill, and injured Marines (and to Sailors attached to or in support of Marine units) and their family members throughout the phases of recovery. Go to their website or call 1-877-4USMCWW or 1-877-487-6299, 24/7.
- Navy Safe Harbor - Severely Injured Support. Navy Safe Harbor is the focal point for the nonmedical care management of severely wounded, ill, or injured Sailors and their families. Nonmedical care issues include pay, ITOs, lodging, and housing adaptation. Go to their website or call 1-877-746-8563.
- Air Force Warrior and Survivor Assistance. This program has two key elements:
- Air Force Survivor Assistance Program. This program provides immediate assistance to seriously wounded, ill, and injured Airmen and their families. Air Force Family Liaison Officers provide logistical and family support, and Recovery Care Coordinators (RCCs) work closely with the recovering Airman throughout the recovery process. Call 1-877-USAF-HELP (1-877-872-3435) or email USAFHELP@Pentagon.af.mil.
- Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2). AFW2 phases in later, when Airmen begin their transition back to their Air Force job or to the civilian community. AFW2 consultants provide a wide range of services, including financial counseling, job-placement assistance, and counseling about veterans' benefits. Go to their website or call 1-800-581-9437 from 7:00am to 4:00pm CT, Monday - Friday.
If your service member's issue or problem isn't taken care of by your Service branch, you can contact the National Resource Directory to find information and support or you can call the Wounded Warrior Resource Center 24/7 at 1-800-342-9647. These resources work closely with each branch of Service to provide ongoing assistance in making sure that your concerns are resolved, including concerns related to facilities, health care, benefits, and complaints.