The novel coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, has had an effect on just about every American’s life, from children to senior citizens. Below, you can learn more about the various ways in which COVID-19 is affecting the lives of veterans and the measures the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has put into place to protect and care for them.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) released its COVID-19 response plan on March 23, 2020. This document lines out the various ways in which the VHA will protect and care for veterans and their families, and the VHA refers to it as a “living document” that will continue to evolve alongside the pandemic. Per the VA website, the organization has administered more than 109,500 COVID-19 tests nationwide and continues to take aggressive steps to prevent and even stop the disease’s transmission.
Many veterans across the nation have disabilities or chronic health conditions related to their service. This means that some veterans may be more at risk of contracting the virus, particularly if they must make frequent trips to their local VA clinic or hospital for medical treatment. In order to slow the transmission and protect at-risk veterans, the VA has begun offering health services via video. Essentially, veterans can video chat with a doctor from their computers or mobile devices and receive diagnosis or even treatment from the safety of their homes. Prescription medications can be delivered safely to veterans’ doorsteps, as well.
Financially, the recession caused by COVID-19 is expected to be especially devastating for veterans per an article published by Military Times. One in seven American veterans has been furloughed, laid off, or left without a job due to business closures as a direct result of social distancing measures, and this means many veterans are struggling to pay their mortgages, utilities, and other obligations. The CARES Act addressed this with nearly $20 billion designated for veterans specifically and another $3 billion designed to help improve the overall veterans’ healthcare infrastructure.
Veterans have numerous COVID-19 related resources available to them. These include FAQs provided from the VA directly, access to medical consultations through My HealtheVet, and even access to increased unemployment payments for those who have been laid off, furloughed, or otherwise unemployed as a result of the pandemic. Veterans who are struggling financially can learn more about credit consolidation loans, refinancing into VA home loans with more affordable interest rates, and credit counseling services that can bridge the gap until financial security returns.
Though COVID-19 has had an effect on everyone’s lives, veterans are especially at risk. From lowered immunity due to disability or illness to the sheer number of veteran layoffs due to social distancing, it can be difficult for veterans to face each new day. Fortunately, the VA has put numerous plans in place designed to keep veterans healthy and happy at home, and other organizations offer the tools and knowledge necessary to bridge any financial gaps.