by Casaundra Johnson | Apr 17, 2020 | Social Security and Disability Compensation
On March 19, 2020, the VA temporarily closed its regional offices to the public in response to COVID-19. While these temporary closures prevent veterans from accessing many services in-person, the VA has expanded its virtual services and is continuing to process disability claims and other benefit applications to the extent possible.
The VA recently issued a press release on March 31, 2020, outlining recent changes in response to COVID-19 (https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5408). Some of these recent changes include the following:
- Conducting compensation and pension (C&P) exams by telephone, video teleconferencing, or online when possible. If an in-person C&P examination is needed, the VA will contact the veteran to make arrangements.
- Continuing GI Bill payments to ensure students continue receiving benefits regardless of any change from in-person to online learning.
- Educational counseling support for students will be available online and by phone.
- Providing Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services through teleconferencing, and virtual case management and general counseling through Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services case management through VA Video Connect (https://www.mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect).
Many VA services were already available by phone or online before the COVID-19 pandemic. These phone and online services, such as VA Video Connect (https://www.mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect) and eBenefits (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage) will remain available while the regional offices are closed. While VA services will also remain available by phone. However, due to high call volumes and long wait times, the VA is encouraging Veterans to try accessing information through online services before calling the VA.
The VA has also created a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (https://www.va.gov/coronavirus-veteran-frequently-asked-questions/?utm_source=VA%20Alert&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=CORONAVIRUS&utm_content=FAQ), to address routine and non-urgent questions. The VA will continue to update this page as the COVID-19 situation progresses.
The Bainbridge Firm can help you with any Veterans Affairs Questions. Please contact our office at The Bainbridge Firm.
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