As our nation is responding to the novel coronavirus health crisis, DAV's professional staff in Washington D.C., are engaging and advocating for veterans and their families with Congress, the Administration and VA. In light of our efforts, we are pleased to provide the following updates:
On March 27, Public Law 116-136, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted. The CARES Act provided nearly $20 billion to VA to protect veterans and their families during this crisis. Below is a summary of provisions in the bill:
- $14.4 billion for essential medical and protective equipment including the purchase of testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical supplies to support growing demand for health care services at VA facilities and through telehealth services.
- $2.1 billion to support increased demand for care in the community, especially at emergency rooms and urgent care facilities.
- $2.15 billion to bolster telehealth capabilities through increased telework and call center capabilities to deliver health care services directly related to coronavirus and mitigate the risk of virus transmission.
- $13 million to ensure VA can provide earned benefits by enhancing telework capabilities for the Veterans Benefits Administration.
- $150 million to assist State Veterans Homes in their response to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Authorizes temporarily waiver of in-person home visit requirement to enroll and permits telephone and telehealth visits as an alternative. Prohibits suspension or disenrollment from the certain VA programs during a public health emergency.
- Requires VA to provide personal protective equipment to VA and community-based workers that provide care to veterans in their home.
- Ensures the 2020 Recovery Rebate veterans receive under the CARES Act shall not be treated as income to avoid a loss or reduction of any VA benefits.
- Increases flexibility for vulnerable veterans with limb loss, allowing them to seek prosthetic assistance at community providers instead of VA.
- Expands telemental health services for veterans and gives VA the ability to enter into agreements with telecommunications companies to provide temporary, complimentary fixed and mobile broadband services.
For more information on the specifics of the CARES Act, please read the press statements issued from House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee leadership in the following links:
- SVAC Chairman Moran Press Release
- SVAC Ranking Member Tester Press Release
- HVAC Chairman Takano Press Release
- HVAC Ranking Member Roe Press Release
On April 2, we issued an Action Alert through DAV CAN, referencing a joint letter sent to the Secretaries of Treasury and VA and advising you of the issue concerning Recovery Rebate checks specifically affecting veterans and survivors who have no income other than VA disability compensation or a related benefit and are not required to file income taxes. We thank you for your resounding response of almost 10,000 emails sent to Congress. As of this date, we are informed, the Department of Treasury and VA are currently working together to resolve this issue. We will continue to update you on this vital concern as we receive additional information.