What should veterans do if they think they have COVID-19?
Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath — are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311 and press 3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.
What should veterans do about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures?
The VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care, including previously scheduled medical visits, mental health appointments, or surgical procedures. Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet and find out whether they should still come in for their scheduled appointments. VA providers may arrange to convert appointments to video visits, where possible.
If you are a student veteran and your school is converting to online education because of COVID-19
If your school is converting to online education because of COVID-19, you will still receive your housing allowance. With the passage of recent legislation (S. 3503), the VA will continue to make housing allowance payments to students using VA education benefits at the on-campus rate, if the school converted to online education due to COVID-19.
Will the emergency income from the CARES Act (the Recovery Rebate) count towards income for determining my eligibility for pension, health care, and other needs-based benefits?
No. Under Section 20010 of the CARES Act, the 2020 Recovery Rebate payment cannot be counted as income when determining a veteran’s eligibility for any VA needs-based benefits.
What if you are a veteran living in a rural area and being told that your appointments will now be through telehealth, but you cannot afford adequate internet services?
Talk to your provider and local VA about getting an iPad or other tablet from VA. The CARES Act allows VA to enter into partnerships with local telecommunications companies to subsidize or completely pay for broadband internet services. Call your local VA facility or send a secure message to your provider on MyHealtheVet to ask about this option.
I have a VA-backed mortgage. Am I protected against foreclosure during the COVID-19 emergency declaration?
Yes. Under the CARES Act, Section 4022, federally-backed mortgages, including those guaranteed or insured by the VA, are protected from foreclosure for 60 days (beginning on March 18, 2020). If borrowers are facing financial hardship, they can request a forbearance for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months, through their mortgage holder.
The VA created this site regarding the novel coronavirus: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/
The VA offers urgent care services to eligible veterans: https://www.va.gov/communitycare/programs/veterans/Urgent_Care.asp
Last Updated: April 1, 2020