COVID-19 Resources for Veterans
What is the Department of Veterans' Affairs Doing?
- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented a rigorous public health response to protect and care for Veterans during this time of emerging health risk. They are working directly with the CDC and other federal partners to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak.
- VA has administered over 848 COVID-19 tests across the nation while taking additional steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
- VA has increased outreach to Veterans and staff, included clinical screening at VA health care facilities, and added protective procedures for patients admitted to community living centers and spinal cord injury units.
What should veterans do?
- Any Veteran with symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to call their local VA facility before visiting – you can find contact information for these facilities at https://www.va.gov/findlocations/?utm_source=VA%20Alert&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=Coronavirus&utm_content=link%20to%20locator.
- Veterans can additionally sign into My HealtheVet (https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/web/myhealthevet/secure-messaging-spotlight) to send a secure message to VA or use telehealth options (https://telehealth.va.gov/type/home) to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.
- Upon arrival at VA, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff, and after initial screening, a VA health care professional will assist you with further steps.
- At this time, VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to please postpone their visits to VA facilities.
- While there is currently no vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 infection and no medication to treat it, taking preventative measures is the most effective way to protect yourself. The CDC believes symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure. Avoid exposure and avoid exposing others to an infection with these preventative measures:
- Learn to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store or by contacting your VA care team, before any urgent problems arise.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (An easy way to mark sufficient time during handwashing is to hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song from beginning to end while scrubbing.)
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow (not your hands) and throw tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Getting a flu shot is recommended.
How the CARES Act applies to veterans:
- Financial support in the form of tax rebate checks will be disbursed the following:
- $1,200 for individuals
- $2,400 for couples
- An additional $500 for each child for families that fall at or below the income threshold of $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for those filing jointly
- There is no minimum income or tax liability requirement, so low-income individuals are eligible to receive the full credit.
- Payment eligibility will be determined by individuals 2018 tax returns, however, those who did not file a tax return will be able to receive a refund check if they file a return for the 2019 tax year.
- Additionally, the IRS will use SSA-1099 information from the Social Security Administration to identify seniors and individuals with disabilities who are eligible but may not file taxes.
- The payment will be distributed electronically to individuals who have an account authorized with the IRS on or after January 1, 2018 for the purpose of receiving tax refunds as a direct deposit, and by mail to all others.
- Within 15 days of the distribution of the payment, a notice will be sent by mail to indicate how the payment has been made and provide a point of contact at the IRS so individuals can report any failure to receive their payment.
- The payments will not be counted as taxable income.
- Payment amount is gradually reduced for those with incomes above these levels and is completely phase out for individuals with incomes above $99,000 and joint filers with incomes above $198,000.
- $14.4 billion will directly fund VA healthcare services, including telehealth, medical equipment, and supply purchases, testing kits, and PPE.