PVA icon Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of service members who returned home from World War II in 1946 with spinal cord injuries and few to no solutions to the major challenges they faced.

Unable to comfortably live in their homes or get around by public transportation, they found barriers to independence everywhere. On a mission to improve accessibility for themselves, their fellow paralyzed Veterans, and all people with disabilities, these Veterans joined together to form PVA. Today, 75 years later, PVA remains a major support system for our nations paralyzed and disabled heroes. Join us in celebrating our history, and the accomplishments to come!

On April 8th, President Biden congratulated PVA on their 75th Anniversary milestone. Read the letter below!

Biden Congratulates PVA

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A Timeline Of Our History

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75th Anniversary Video

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Learn More About PVA

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The problem

Thousands of service members and Veterans sustain spinal cord injuries every year, resulting in a loss of motor skills and/or sensory function. Countless more are currently living with paralysis – more than five million according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. These disabled Veterans face many challenges in life, whether in accessing public places or securing the benefits they earned from their service. For Veterans with spinal cord injuries, the challenges run even deeper. Many spinal cord injuries and diseases are not well understood and prevent paralyzed Veterans from participating in many aspects of American life.

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Our solution

We offer a unique support system for our nations disabled Veterans:

  1. We are loyal to our Veterans. PVA meets Veterans at their hospital bedside at the moment of their injury or diagnosis and sticks by their side throughout their entire life.
  2. We bring special expertise to the table. Since PVA is run by paralyzed Veterans, we have a deep understanding of the issues our members face. We know how to work with Veterans who face debilitating diseases, such as MS and ALS. We also have a team of highly trained legislative advocates, architects, medical professionals, lawyers, and other professionals that work hard to ensure every Veteran regains the quality of life they fought for.
  3. We push for meaningful reform. PVA goes beyond helping individual Veterans and works to change the sociopolitical system through lawmaking. Since our founding in 1946, we have helped pass some of the nation’s greatest legislation, including the ADA.
  4. We lead the nation in a search for a cure. Through PVA’s Research and Education Foundations, PVA focuses on exploring treatments and finding a cure for SCI/D. We have supported valuable research that’s made a tremendous impact on Veterans’ care, including new approaches to the treatment of chronic pain.
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How we work

We help paralyzed and disabled Veterans live their life to the fullest through a variety of programs.

Veterans can access these programs at the national level and through one of 33 PVA Chapter offices across the country. See all of our locations here.

Want to learn more about our programs and how we fund them? Check our annual report.

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The Next 75

So much has changed since our founding in 1946. Today, paralyzed Veterans have civil rights that permit them access to public spaces, adaptive sports, and career opportunities. But there is still much more work to be done. Among some of our big initiatives in the coming years, will be:

Accessible air travel

Family planning access for Veterans

Opportunities and advancements for women Veterans

Adaptive vehicles and so much more!

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5 Ways to Get involved

Join us in celebrating 75 years of serving disabled and paralyzed heroes:

bullet point Learn about our Honor the Spot campaign and sign the pledge to honor handicapped parking spots for those who really need it.

PVA icon  Sign up to support our fight for accessibility for all by pushing forward vital legislation

PVA icon Sponsor/host a 75th anniversary-themed PVA event or fundraiser

PVA icon  Share PVA’s story on your social media!

PVA iconDonate to our programs