COVID-19 Resources for Veterans

For general community resources on coronavirus, please see my coronavirus resource guide

 

Information regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs

 

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 and veterans should feel free to request telehealth appointments from their VA providers.

 

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. Guidance from Colorado’s VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s Facility Locator Tool.

 

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. 

 

How is VA supporting those impacted by intimate partner violence (IPV)?

Crises that disrupt daily life – such as the COVID-19 pandemic – can interrupt access to key services, including resources for those experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) has Coordinators in VA facilities available for support for those using or experiencing intimate partner violence. For more resources and information about VA’s IPVAP, visit their Website.

Visit VA’s Frequently Asked Questions Page for more information on what veterans need to know about seeking care at VA facilities during this time.

 

What if I need help navigating VA processes?

For residents of the 6th district, our office can work directly with agencies on behalf of constituents to fix issues with benefits, determine the status of a pending matter, and request reconsideration of an administrative decision.

 

 

Local Resources in Colorado

Where can I find a nearby VA medical facility?

For residents of the 6th district, there is the new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora. For more locations, see here: Location Directory

Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center

Website: www.denver.va.gov/about/RMRVAMC-facility.asp

Dial: 303-399-8020 

 

Where can I find a nearby Veterans Service Officer?

Here is contact information for county Veterans Service Officers in the 6th district. For more counties, please visit the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs website: County Directory.

Arapahoe County

Email: VeteranServices@arapahoegov.com

Address: Arapahoe County Plaza 1690 West Littleton Blvd, Ste 110 Littleton, CO 80120

Phone: 303-738-8045

Adams County

Address: 11860 Pecos Street Westminster CO 80234

Phone: 720-523-2770

Douglas County

Address: Wilcox Building 301 Wilcox Street Castle Rock, CO 80109

Phone: 303-663-6200


 

Congress' Work

How will veterans be able to access their economic impact payments?

As a result of the CARES Act being passed and signed into law, each American with a social security number will be receiving a $1,200 economic impact payment ($2,400 for married couples) to help relieve some of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tax returns filed in 2019 or 2018 will be used to identify who is eligible for this payment. The value of these payments phases out for taxpayers with incomes above $75,000 ($150,000 for a married couple).

 

What about veterans who didn’t file a tax return this year?

In order to receive an economic impact payment, veterans and other VA beneficiaries will need to file taxes – even if they ordinarily wouldn't file.

For more information on receiving an economic impact payment, Visit The IRS’ Page. To file a simple tax return and receive an economic impact payment, the IRS has prepared Instructions on how to file federal taxes for free.

 

How are student veterans impacted? 

On March 19, the House passed legislation ensuring student veterans will receive waivers for classes changing to completely online instruction because of COVID-19.

Even though students may be forced to switch to online classes, which under normal circumstances would lower the amount they receive for their monthly housing allowance, student veterans will now be able to maintain their current monthly housing allowance rate under this legislation.

 

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

The CDC released Guidelines individuals can follow to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19. These precautions include washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and practicing social distancing so the virus does not unintentionally spread to other people. Since many veterans care for family members at high risk of contracting COVID-19, it is important to contact state and local health authorities for next steps and treatment.

 

Supporting Yourself and Others

How can you take care of yourself?

The spread and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress and anxiety for many veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has published tips for managing stress associated with COVID-19 including increasing one’s sense of safety, staying connected, and cultivating ways to be calm. Visit the Department’s Page on stress management to learn more about steps you can take to help alleviate stress and anxiety during this trying time.

Additional mental health resources can also be found at Mental Health America.

 

Resources for Veterans in Crisis

Help is available for veterans in crisis by calling the Veteran Crisis Line at 1 (800) 273-8255 and pressing 1, at VeteransCrisisLine.Net/Chat, or by texting 838255.

 

Additional Resources

Additional resources are available on the CDC's Website – including information regarding caring for children, school and work closures, and protecting yourself and your community.

Caregivers with additional concerns about caring for veterans during this time can find support and resources at Hidden Heroes.

For general community resources on coronavirus, please see my coronavirus resource guide