COVID-19 News

COVID-19 NEWS


Cares Act

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Cares Act Extends VA Home Loan Pre-Foreclosure Options


VA extends financial, benefits and claims relief to Veterans - Posted April 9, 2020

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced, April 3, a number of actions to provide Veterans with financial, benefits and claims help amid VA's COVID-19 response. “As all Americans come together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we want Veterans to be focused on their health and safety,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “That’s why we’re taking action to give those with pending debts, claims and appeals greater flexibility during these challenging times.” The financial relief actions include the following until further notice:

  • Suspending all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.
  • Suspending collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, as the Veteran prefers.

For benefit debts, Veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make arrangements. For health care debts, Veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make arrangements. The benefits and claims relief actions include giving Veterans the option to submit their paperwork late for the following actions:

  • perfecting claims
  • challenging adverse decisions
  • submitting Notices of Disagreement
  • submitting Substantive Appeals
  • responding to Supplemental Statements of the Case

Veterans requesting claim extensions can simply submit them with any late-filed paperwork and Veterans do not have to proactively request an extension in advance. For added convenience, VA will also accept typed/digital signatures instead of wet signatures on its forms. Those with questions can call 1-800-827-1000. For Veterans who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and need immediate action on their appeals, as opposed to a filing extension, the Board of Veterans' Appeals will Advance their appeal on Docket (AOD). Click here to find out how to file for AOD and what documentation is required.




Department of the Army - General Order - Posted April 4, 2020

The purpose of this General Order idntifies conduct that is prejudicial to the good order and discipline, health, and safety of all personnel within the CCOE SRO area of responsibility. To read this General Order in full please click HERE.




Department of Defense Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings - Posted April 6, 2020

The Department of Defense (DoD) is committed to taking every precaution to ensure the health and wellbeing of our Service members, DoD civilian employees, families, and the Nation in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. DoD supports, and will continue to implement, all measures necessary to mitigate risks to the spread of the disease, consistent with the Department's priorities to protect our people, safeguard our national security capabilities, and support the government's whole-of-nation response.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Military personnel, DoD civilian employees, their family members, and DoD contractors are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidelines on the use of cloth face coverings in public settings or where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Please read the entire release HERE.




Fort Gordon Updates

Update from MAJ Bradham, VSO Aiken Co about pharmacies. Please read the entire release HERE.




South Carolina Vietnam War Veterans Day

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, there are instances when the MDE vendors are unable to complete all or part of the examination request. In some cases, claimants are asking to cancel or postpone scheduling their examination appointments because of social distancing practices. The MDE Program Office is working closely with the MDE contract vendors to track all canceled or pending examinations to include any overseas examinations.

Click HERE to learn more about South Carolina Vietnam War Veterans Day




Medical Disability Exam Program Office COVID-19 Related Guidance:

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Columbia VA Health Care System COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information Update:

To protect our patients, guests and caregivers, the Columbia VA Health Care System and its clinics have limited public entrances. Everyone who enters any of the Columbia VA Health Care System’s facilities will be pre-screened. This may lengthen entry times, so patients are advised to allow for that when arriving for their appointments. The Columbia VA HCS leadership has also elected to suspended the valet parking service at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center. Veterans are encouraged to park in any designated parking spot, including the area normally reserved for valet parking. Additionally, as of tomorrow (March 20), Building 103 will no longer be open to visitors and the Red Team will no longer be seeing patients until further notice. If you currently have an appointment scheduled with a Red Team provider, you should be receiving a call or Secure Message notice of where to report for your appointment or instructions on how to participate in the virtual appointment room. As always, you can reach our Telephone Advice Program at (803) 647-5829 or Toll Free at (888) 651-2683.

The facility is currently restricting visitors to one visitor per patient and no visitors under the age of 18 from entering any of the facilities. Columbia VA HCS’s Community Living Center (nursing home) is not accepting visitors.

The Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center has begun rescheduling non-urgent elective surgical procedures.

This action will reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and ICU use and will free up resources to address the needs of Veterans under evaluation and diagnosed with COVID-19. Urgent and emergent surgeries will continue.

Veterans: if you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, call us at (803) 647-5829 or Toll Free at (888) 651-2683 before you visit. In addition to calling first, consider using virtual care options such as telehealth or My HealtheVet Secure Messaging. Read VA’s latest information on the new coronavirus at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-corona




Veterans: Call before visiting your VA facility

Got a fever, cold, cough or flu-like symptoms? Are you worried that you have a viral illness? The last thing you want to do is get out of the house to see the doctor, exposing yourself (and others) to more potential bugs and viruses.

VA can make it easier and safer to get back to health with virtual care through My HealtheVet and the VA Video Connect app on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Learn More




VA Office Closings

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices will be closed to the public starting March 19.
Learn More




COVID-19 Virus Concerns and How It Affects GI Bill Benefits

IThe VA is disseminating information on COVID-19 Virus Concerns and How It Affects GI Bill Benefits on their Facebook page. See their 3/12/2020 Facebook post discussing the Corona Virus and its impact on veterans’ monthly housing allowance. Facebook Page
Benefits Website

If you have questions about your specific circumstance, please contact the VA Education Call Center at: 1-888-442-4551 between 8 AM and 7 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.


The VA is hosting a Webinar on Thursday, March 19th on how Covid-19 is affecting the GI Bill.
COVID-19 Informational Webinar
WHEN: Thursday, March 19 | 11:00 AM & 1:00PM EST
AUDIENCE: SAAs & SCOs
Benefits Website




Temporary suspension of Video and Central office hearings by the Board of Veterans' Appeals

In keeping with VA’s primary mission to care for our Veterans, effective Monday, March 23, 2020, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals is suspending all video and Central Office hearings through at least May 1, 2020.
Veterans tend to be from higher risk populations (e.g., advanced age, respiratory and immunosuppressed conditions). Many of these Veterans may have been unaware that there were other options to complete their hearings that would not compromise their health, including rescheduling to a later date or choosing a virtual hearing. The health and safety of our Veterans and families is VA’s top priority.
We understand that Veterans have been waiting for these hearings and we don’t want to delay any longer than necessary. The Board will work with Veterans and VSOs and representatives to provide virtual hearings where possible. See the attached fact sheet for more information.
We are asking Veterans to work with their representatives on rescheduling hearings. Veterans who prefer to wait for Travel board, video or central office hearings to resume will receive top priority in hearing rescheduling.




VA, CDC closely monitoring Coronavirus outbreak

VA is working closely with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners, monitoring an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
VA has activated its emergency management coordination cell (EMCC) and is implementing an aggressive and collaborative public health response to protect and care for Veterans.
At this time, no Veterans receiving care at VA have been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the 2019-nCoV infection and no medication to treat it. CDC believes symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have both:

  • Symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath and
  • Have either recently returned from China or have direct exposure to others diagnosed with 2019-nCoV.

Call before visiting your VA medical center to seek care. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.