Frequently Asked Questions
What does the CARES Act mean for veterans?
- The bill makes veterans’ organizations and nonprofits eligible for SBA’s new Paycheck Protection Program if they have fewer than 500 employees. Eligible recipients could receive loans for as much as $10 million or 250% of their average monthly payroll costs, which could be used to pay their employees or cover mortgage interest and utility costs.
- The bill also includes $19.57 billion in funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the equipment, tests, and support services necessary to provide veterans with the additional care they need at facilities nationwide;
- $15.85 billion in order to support an increase in demand for VA services specific to coronavirus;
- $590 million for VA to help veterans get treatment, and provide support for those who are homeless or at risk of eviction. Funding is also included for keeping veterans within VA-run nursing homes and community living centers safe from coronavirus;
- $3.1 billion for VA to purchase, staff, and equip temporary sites of care and mobile treatment centers to deal with this pandemic; and
- $2.8 million to provide staff treating veterans living at the AFRH with the personal protective equipment they need and minimize the spread of coronavirus among residents.
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, 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 about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures?
VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care—even 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.
Can visitors still access VA medical facilities?
Many VA medical facilities have cancelled public events for the time being, and VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to postpone their visits to local VA medical facilities. Facilities have also been directed to limit the number of entrances through which visitors can enter. Upon arrival, all patients, visitors, and employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure.
What about VA nursing homes and spinal cord injury units?
On March 10, 2020, VA announced that its 134 nursing homes (also called VA community living centers) and 24 spinal cord injury and disorder centers would be closed to all outside visitors. All clinical staff will be screened for COVID-19 daily before entering the nursing home or spinal cord injury units, and staff will work only within those units to limit possible transmission of the virus. Exceptions to the visitor policy will only be made for cases when veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units or inpatient spinal cord injury units.
Resources for disabled veterans financially impacted by COVID-19
- Wounded Warrior Project grant: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/covid-relief
- DAV grant ($250): https://www.dav.org/COVIDrelief/
- PenFed Foundation: https://penfedfoundation.org/apply-for-assistance/coronavirus-emergency-financial-assistance/
- VBA for VA Home Loans: https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26_20_7.pdf
- SC Small Business Association Guidance & Loan Resources: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
- Palmetto Goodwill Employment Services, Training & Assistance: https://palmettogoodwill.org/