What tele-health options are available for veterans to receive care without additional risks?

  • Veterans using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) VA Video Connect on their TracFone mobile phones through the T-Mobile network, will no longer pay for data while using video telehealth technology to connect and meet with their VA health care teams.

  • TracFone Wireless, Inc is the fourth major wireless carrier to partner with VA to support Veterans who are using VA Video Connect.

  • T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon began enabling Veterans to use VA Video Connect without data charges in 2019. VA Video Connect enables Veterans to video conference with their VA providers on their smartphone, tablet or computer from any location with an internet connection

Are there additional efforts to provide extra assistance to veterans at this time? 

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began deploying Mobile Vet Center units, the week of March 16, to expand direct counseling, outreach and care coordination to Veterans in communities affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • These mobile units help VA reach those who may not otherwise seek VA services for counseling and mental health support. Vet Center staff can assist those who may be facing extreme isolation during this period of “social distancing”—a practice that is needed to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate—but one that may likewise increase the vulnerability of some Veterans.

Do veterans’ organizations qualify for the Small Business Administration’s PPP loan program?

  • Non-profit organizations who may qualify to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) include 501(c)(19) veterans organizations.  To be exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(19), an organization must be either: A post or organization of past or present members of the United States Armed Forces; An auxiliary unit or society of such post or organization; or A trust or foundation for such post or organization.  Check with your local lender to see if you qualify.

What is the federal government doing to help homeless veterans at this time?

  • The CARES Act is increasing the amount to support the additional costs of aiding Veterans in today’s more difficult economic circumstances. Before the CARES Act, VA provide up to $48.50 per day for each Veteran that grantees assist.
  • Expect loan servicers to comply with all home loan related provisions of the CARES Act, giving borrowers the right to loan forbearance upon request and protecting against foreclosures, evictions and adverse credit reporting. During the COVID-19 emergency, servicers must also comply with all other federal, state and local requirements implemented to address the servicing of home loans

Will VA state homes be required to maintain a 90% occupancy rate in order to receive federal benefits?

  • The CARES Act waived a requirement that VA state homes maintain a 90% occupancy rate in order to receive federal benefits for times when the Veteran is not in the home. The change recognizes the importance of social distancing, especially among the older Veteran population. It also permits State Veterans Homes to admit more spouses of Veterans and Gold Star parents. 

How are VA appeals being handled at this time?

  • In light of COVID-19 the Board has also expanded its virtual hearing capacity to hold about 250 virtual hearings per week. Virtual hearings at the Board allow Veterans who have the proper technology to participate in their appeals hearings from the comfort of their own homes, instead of traveling to a VA facility. To learn more about the Board, please visit: https://www.bva.va.gov/

I am a recipient of non-taxable VA benefits who does not file annual income tax returns for 2018 or 2019. How will I receive my Economic Impact Payment?

  • These payments will be automatically issued, and there is no action needed on behalf of the individual veteran. The VA an IRS have been collaborating since the passage of the CARES Act to ensure veterans receive their Economic Impact Payment.
  • For VA beneficiaries who filed a Form 1040 for 2018 or 2019, they can track the status of their payments on the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov. For non-tax filing VA beneficiaries, this information will be loaded on this tool within the next few weeks.

RESOURCES

  • Click here for VA debt resources.
  • The Department of Defense offers resources for constituents to take action and stay informed about COVID-19. You can sign up for email updates and check this page regularly for the latest information.  The COVID-19 pandemic and our national response continues to evolve by the minute. If you have any questions, please visit https://www.tricare.mil/coronavirus..

  • Visit connected care for more information on VA’s telehealth programs.

  • Veterans, active duty service members and their families are encouraged to find their nearest Vet Center and call to get connected to counseling services or reach out to the 24/7 Vet Center Call Center at 1-877-927-8387. Many Vet Centers are currently utilizing telehealth services through VA Video Connect and can also speak to individuals via phone to reduce any barriers to seeking necessary help.

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made public, March 27, the COVID-19 Response Plan it is executing within its medical facilities to protect Veterans, their families and staff. The full plan can be viewed HERE: plan