As we continue to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the administration, Congress and state and local governments are working together to make certain we are doing everything in our power to stop the spread of this virus. Please take precautions to keep you and your families safe, and please call your primary care physcian if you are experiencing symptoms related to the coronavirus. These are difficult and challenging times, and no one is left unaffected. We are taking this threat seriously, and we will continue to face this crisis head-on as a nation.
To find further resources on how to protect you and your family, visit coronavirus.gov or your state’s Health Department website. For VA-related questions, you can refer to the VA Coronavirus FAQ page here.
The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee encourages individuals to follow CDC guidance for preventative measures found here. Follow these steps if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus.
For general information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease control site here. For more specific information, please follow the links below:
- Situation Summary
- Prevention & Treatment
- Travel Information
- High-Risk Populations
- Pregnant Women Guidance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Veteran Care Options
Any veteran experiecing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, dry cough or shortness of breath, should immediately contact their closest VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal and/or arrange a video appointment with a VA clinician through the telehealth option. This may include referrals to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.
For information and helpful tips on maintaining mental health during COVID-19, please visit the VA Office of Mental Health & Suicide Prevention resource here.
GI Bill Information
The Senate and House passed S.3503 and the bill was signed by the President on March 21, which will give VA the authority to continue GI Bill payments uninterrupted in the event of national emergencies, like COVID-19. The new law allows VA to pay education benefits regardless of the fact that a program has changed from resident training to online training. Those receiving GI Bill benefits will continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payments that you received for resident training until 12/21/20, or until the school resumes normal operations of resident training. The committee is working to immediately implement the new changes. Follow along with VA updates on the GI Bill Facebook page.
If an individual has questions about their specific circumstance, they can contact the Education Call Center at: 1-888-442-4551 between 8 AM and 7 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.
Veterans Benefits Administration
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices has been closed to the public since March 19. Regional offices have remained open, but will no longer accept walk-ins for claims assistance, scheduled appointments, counseling and other in-person services.
Veterans can continue to get information about benefits or file a claim for benefits by visiting here. Veterans with specific claims or other questions may request information via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) or telephone at 1-800-827-1000.
To be directed to the VA's Life Insurance webpage, please click here.
Board of Veterans Appeals Suspension of Hearings
Per the VA, effective Monday, March 23, 2020, the Board of Veterans Appeals suspended all video and Central Office hearings through at least May 1, 2020. The Board will work with Veterans and VSOs and representatives to provide virtual hearings where possible.
If this suspension has affected you, please click here for your options to move forward with a virtual hearing.
Cemetery and Funeral Information
Arlington National Cemetery Information:
As of September , 2020 Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is conducting a limited reopening to both allow the public to conduct gravesite visitations and protect the health and wellbeing of employees and families. The cemetery will initially be open to the public for gravesite visitation from 8 am to 12 pm. Face coverings will be mandatory to wear while on cemetery grounds and social distancing is expected. Several of the most historic places of interest will remain closed to assure health protection conditions. Family pass holders may still visit between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm.
Funerals will be conducted as scheduled, but effective March 30th escort elements of military funeral honors are being curtailed until further notice. Family members should contact 1-877-907-8585 for more information on new arrival procedures or if they would like to reschedule a funeral. Families who arrive at ANC for scheduled funerals are being asked to remain in their cars when they arrive into the designated queuing lanes. For further information or updates, please click here.
All Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) national cemeteries remain open and continue to provide interment for Veterans and eligible individuals during this health crisis. Committal services, which had been discontinued on March 23, resumed at all NCA cemeteries in June.?VA national cemeteries have been contacting families who were unable to hold a committal service due to the COVID-19 pandemic to arrange memorial services for their loved ones. Military funeral honors will be based on local availability.
Families that wish to postpone an interment should contact the cemetery at which burial is scheduled as soon as possible. The National Cemetery Administration will work with families to postpone and reschedule interments and memorial services. The National Cemetery Scheduling Office in St. Louis will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency. To schedule a burial, please call 800-535-1117, option 1.
National Cemeteries will remain open to visitors, but guests are strongly encouraged to obey local travel restrictions and engage in social distancing. Visitors should expect certain areas normally open to the public, such as chapels and information centers, to be closed. For further information or updates, please click here.
VA Home Loans
If you’re encountering problems in making mortgage payments, speak with your servicers as soon as possible to explore options to make timely payments. If you continue to face challenges and need additional support, contact 1-877-827-3702 to reach VA loan specialists who are prepared to discuss potential ways to save the loan. For more information, please click here.
If VA is not able to help a veteran borrower retain his/her home (whether a VA-guaranteed loan or not), the HOPE NOW Alliance may be of assistance. HOPE NOW is a joint alliance consisting of servicers, counselors, and investors whose main goal is to assist distressed borrowers retain their homes and avoid foreclosure. They have expertise in financial counseling, as well as programs that take advantage of relief measures that VA cannot. HOPE NOW provides outreach, counseling and assistance to homeowners who have the willingness and ability to keep their homes but are facing financial difficulty as a result of the crisis in the mortgage market. The HOPE NOW Alliance can be reached at (888) 995-HOPE (4673), or by visiting the website here.
For guidance for borrowers with VA-guaranteed home loans, please click here.
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