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Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to know

Our call centers and some VA health facilities are currently experiencing very high numbers of calls. To help us address the most urgent needs first, we ask that you use our online tools and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for routine or non-urgent questions. We’ll continue to update this page as the situation changes.

VA coronavirus chatbot

You can also use our VA coronavirus chatbot to get answers to your questions.

Go to the chatbot

Coronavirus-specific concerns

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA?

We offer COVID-19 vaccines to these groups:

  • All Veterans (including Veterans who live or travel outside of the U.S. and are eligible for the VA Foreign Medical Program)
  • Spouses and surviving spouses of Veterans
  • Caregivers of Veterans. For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, we define a caregiver as a family member or friend who provides care to a Veteran. Caregivers may help a Veteran with personal needs like feeding, bathing, or dressing. They may also help a Veteran with tasks like shopping or transportation. 
  • Recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines at VA

Can I get a booster or additional COVID-19 vaccine dose at VA?

We follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on booster shots and additional doses:

  • We now offer a third vaccine dose only to certain groups of people with weakened immune systems. 
  • We now offer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine boosters to certain people, based on CDC recommendations.

Learn more about booster shots and additional doses

Is there a cure or any FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19?

There is no cure for COVID-19 at this time. There are treatments for COVID-19, but the risk of severe illness and death are still high in certain groups of people. And the CDC reports that some of the treatments we use to treat COVID-19 may not work as well against the new form of the coronavirus known as the “Delta variant.”

Talk to your health care provider before taking any medications to prevent or treat COVID-19. 

If you have questions about a treatment, call or send a secure message to your VA provider.

Learn more about COVID-19 treatments on the CDC website

Learn more about coronavirus variants on the CDC website

Get answers to your questions about COVID-19 treatments

More coronavirus-specific concerns

We follow CDC guidelines for cloth masks. 

A new form of the coronavirus (called the “Delta variant”) is spreading across the U.S. The Delta variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. Because of this, the CDC now says that everyone should wear a mask when indoors in parts of the country with substantial or high levels of virus transmission. This includes people who are fully vaccinated.

Your safety is our top priority. Here’s our current mask policy for different VA locations:

  • At VA health care facilities: Everyone who enters our hospitals, clinics, and Vet Centers must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. If you’re fully vaccinated, our staff will tell you if it’s safe to remove your mask during your visit.
  • When indoors at other VA locations: If you’re in a part of the country with substantial or high levels of transmission, you must wear a mask. This applies even if you’re fully vaccinated. Our staff will explain each location’s mask policy when you arrive.
    Check your county’s level of coronavirus transmission on the CDC website
  • When outdoors in a VA national cemetery: If you're not fully vaccinated, please wear a cloth mask and follow physical distancing guidelines. 

Check back often for updates.

Note: We continue to screen all visitors to our health and other facilities for COVID-19 symptoms. We also continue to follow physical distancing and other safety guidelines.

If you have any of these emergency warning signs, call 911 to get help now: 

  • Trouble breathing 
  • Persistent (continuing) pain or pressure in the chest 
  • Bluish lips or face 
  • Suddenly feeling or acting confused 
  • Trouble waking up or staying awake 

If you have other symptoms of COVID-19, contact us before going to a VA health facility. Contacting us first helps us keep you and others safe.  

Get the full list of COVID-19 symptoms from the CDC website

Our Annie text messaging service can help you monitor your symptoms

This service can advise you when to contact your VA care team or your facility’s advice nurse. It also provides general wellness tips and steps you can take to protect yourself. You can ask your VA care team to assign the service to you. Or, you can subscribe to Annie coronavirus precautions messages yourself. 

Subscribe to Annie coronavirus precautions messages

If you’d like to talk to someone about coronavirus concerns, like testing, exposure, and prevention at VA, call our MyVA411 main information line at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).

First, know that you're not alone. We're here for you. Concerns about COVID-19 can be stressful for many people. You can take steps to manage stress and get support.

Get more VA tips for maintaining your mental health

Learn more about managing COVID-19 stress on the CDC website 

At VA, we've completed thousands of research studies with the goal of improving the health and well-being of Veterans. Because of this research history, we have the long-term data to best understand how illnesses, vaccines, and treatments affect Veterans.

We're now working to find ways to prevent and treat COVID-19 for Veterans and others. Because COVID-19 is so new, we have a lot to learn. We can’t learn without doing research. And we can’t do research without people who volunteer to participate in research studies. 

As a research study participant, you can help us:

  • Better understand how COVID-19 affects different people
  • Find ways to prevent and treat COVID-19 for you, your family, and your community
  • Make sure vaccines and treatments are safe and effective in people of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities

As a research participant, you may also:

  • Learn more about your own health
  • Receive more regular health check-ins as part of your study visits
  • Get early access to a new vaccine or treatment

Learn more about volunteering for coronavirus research at VA

COVID-19 testing at VA

We offer diagnostic testing for Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care and meet the CDC testing criteria. At this time, we’re not charging a copay for testing. 

Find out if you meet the CDC testing criteria

Learn how to apply for VA health care 

To get a test, you must have an appointment. You can request an appointment in any of these 3 ways: 

For your safety, please don’t go in person to a VA health care facility without an appointment.  

Please also be aware that everyone who enters our facilities will be screened for COVID-19, and must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. If you have more questions about testing, please call our MyVA411 main information line at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).

We usually have test results in about 3 to 4 days.  

If you were tested at a VA health facility and you have a My HealtheVet Premium account, you can get your test results online as soon as we have them. If you don’t have a My HealtheVet Premium account, you can get one now. 

Learn how to get your results through My HealtheVet  

Your VA or community care provider will also call you with your test results when they’re available. If you have concerns about your results, call or send a secure message to your provider.

1. Monitor your symptoms. To get reminders for when to contact your care team or a nurse advice line, you can use our Annie text messaging service.

Subscribe to the Annie text messaging service
 
If your symptoms get worse, contact your provider or nearest VA health facility:

If you or someone else has any of these symptoms, call 911 to get help now: 

  • Trouble breathing 

  • Persistent (continuing) pain or pressure in the chest 

  • Bluish lips or face 

  • Suddenly feeling or acting confused 

  • Trouble waking up or staying awake 

Get the latest COVID-19 symptom information on the CDC website 
 

2. Follow CDC guidelines to prevent spreading the virus to others. Until you get your results, you won’t know if you have an active infection or not.

Get COVID-19 prevention advice on the CDC website  

If your results are positive 

This means you had an active infection at the time of testing. Your provider will give you advice on what to do next to make sure you get any care you need. You’ll also need to continue to monitor your symptoms and separate yourself from others to prevent spreading the virus. 

Learn what to do when you have COVID-19 on the CDC website 
 

If your results are negative 

This means you didn’t have an active infection at the time of testing. It doesn’t mean you haven’t been infected since that time or won’t become infected in the future. Continue to follow safe practices, like wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing your hands often. 

Learn more about COVID-19 prevention on the CDC website 

Note: This test also won’t tell you if you were infected with the coronavirus in the past. That’s a different type of test called an antibody test. Learn more about COVID-19 tests on the FDA website  

Health care, appointments, and more

VA health facilities

This depends on the facility and the current conditions in your local area.

Your safety is our top priority. We’re carefully monitoring conditions. We'll continue to offer expanded services at VA facilities that meet VA, federal, state, and local criteria for safe in-person care. 

You'll also have access to telehealth appointments by phone or video. Your provider may recommend telehealth for you.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, your VA facility may temporarily take one or more of these actions:

  • Hold at its current level of expanded in-person services
  • Reduce select in-person services
  • Add or change safety measures (like not allowing anyone except patients and staff to enter the facility)

We appreciate your support, patience, and understanding as we work to protect you, other Veterans, and our staff.

Find out which services your facility is now offering:

If you do go for care, please contact your care team first. This helps us keep you safe. And please know that you’ll need to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose. You'll also need to complete our symptom screening before entering the facility.

Contact your care team about your upcoming appointment

Note: If you’re experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. You don’t need a VA referral or approval to go to a non-VA emergency room in your community.

This will depend on the facility and the current conditions in your local area.

Each facility follows VA, federal, state, and local guidelines for visitors. We work to balance these 2 goals:

  • Meet the needs of Veterans and families, and
  • Keep our patients, staff, and communities safe

What to know about different types of care and facilities:

  • For outpatient appointments, procedures, or urgent care: If you come with a Veteran who needs care, staff will tell you if you can enter. This will depend on the facility’s guidelines and the Veteran’s needs.
  • For nursing homes, inpatient hospital stays, and other long-term care facilities: If your family member lives or is staying overnight in the facility, the staff will help you stay in contact. This may include visits by phone or video. It may also include limited in-person visits. We also have exceptions in place for Veterans who are in their last stage of life. 

What to know before you arrive:

  • We recommend that all visitors get a COVID-19 vaccine before coming to a VA health facility. If you need a COVID-19 vaccine, we offer vaccines to all spouses and caregivers of Veterans. Call your facility or ask a staff member how to get your vaccine.
  • You must wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose to enter the facility. If you’re fully vaccinated, our staff will tell you if it’s safe to remove your mask during your visit. 
  • You must complete our COVID-19 symptom screening to enter the facility.

We know this is difficult for families. Thank you for helping us protect you and others—especially our most vulnerable Veterans.

We apologize if you’re not able to get through or are experiencing long hold times. We’re currently experiencing very high numbers of calls. Our staff is working hard to handle the increase in calls.

To help us address the most urgent needs first, we ask that you use one of our online tools for routine or non-urgent concerns. You can:

Yes. To help us protect you, other patients, and our staff, we require everyone who enters our hospitals, clinics, and Vet Centers to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose.

Here’s what to know:

  • If you’re fully vaccinated, we ask that you still wear a mask when you enter the facility. Our staff will tell you when it’s safe to remove your mask.
  • Please bring your own mask with you if you can. If you can’t, we’ll provide you with one.
  • If you wear an oxygen mask, you don’t need to wear a separate mask. We’ll work with you to keep you and others safe. We may ask you to wait in a designated space until your appointment time.
  • If you have concerns about wearing a mask, talk with your provider. They’ll work with you to get you the care you need and follow safety guidelines.  

Find your VA provider’s phone number

Learn more about cloth masks on the CDC website

We’re making every effort to protect you, other Veterans, and our staff from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. 

First, we’re following VHA and CDC guidelines to ensure physical distancing in our facilities. Physical distancing means staying at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ lengths) away from other people when outside of your home, and avoiding large crowds. It’s one of the best ways we can prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

We're taking these steps to ensure physical distancing:

  • Using remote check-in options by text or phone when possible
  • Keeping a physical separation between Veterans and staff with the use of desks, tables, Plexiglas, or other partitions
  • Providing more space in waiting rooms and other areas
  • Adding signs and floor markings to remind patients and staff about how to create safe physical distance
  • Changing processes for waiting for prescription, lab, and imaging services

We're also taking these added safety precautions:

  • Following all CDC recommendations for cleaning our facilities
  • Screening all Veterans, caregivers, and staff for COVID-19 symptoms each time they enter a VA health facility
  • Requiring everyone who enters our facilities to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. Like physical distancing, masks help prevent spreading the virus when people cough, sneeze, or talk. Read our question about masks for more information.
    Learn more about cloth masks on the CDC website
  • Requiring our health care providers to use appropriate protective attire when providing care. This may include a face mask, eye protection, gloves, or a gown, depending on the provider’s level of contact and length of time spent with you.

If you have questions about any of our safety measures, please talk to your provider.

Get more COVID-19 prevention tips on the CDC website

Health appointments

If you need care, please don’t delay. We can provide safe care to meet your needs. We encourage you to consider a phone or video appointment for routine needs. If you or VA canceled an appointment due to COVID-19, you can contact us anytime to reschedule. 

The fastest way to schedule an appointment is to contact your VA health care provider directly. You can do that in either of these 2 ways:

You may also be able to request some types of appointments—like mental health appointments—online through our VA appointments tool. 

Schedule a mental health appointment

If your provider schedules a video telehealth appointment

Your provider will give you instructions about where to go for your video appointment. Or they’ll send you a link to join VA Video Connect.

Use VA Video Connect for your telehealth appointment

Join video appointments through our VA appointments tool

If you go to a VA health facility for an in-person appointment

You’ll need to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose. You’ll also need to complete our COVID-19 symptom screening when you arrive. 

If you have a scheduled community care appointment

Please contact your community care (non-VA) provider directly before going to your appointment. Some providers' hours or services may be affected by current CDC and local health department guidelines.

If your community care provider cancels your appointment

Work with the provider to reschedule. We're extending VA authorizations for community care referrals for many types of care during this time. If you have concerns about rescheduling your appointment, send a secure message to your VA provider.

Send your VA provider a secure message about rescheduling your appointment

If you need a referral

We'll work with you to assess your needs. We’re continuing to make community care referrals. But we’re prioritizing referrals for urgent or other medically necessary care.

Please remember: You need VA approval for all community care appointments, except for emergency and urgent care needs. Getting a referral depends on eligibility, type of care, and other factors. At this time, community care eligibility requirements haven't changed.

Learn about eligibility for community care

For safety reasons, we’ve canceled some in-person appointments and elective procedures due to COVID-19. But we want to make sure you get the care you need as soon as possible.

If we haven’t contacted you to reschedule your appointment or procedure, please contact us. We’ll help you schedule a new appointment. Your provider may recommend a phone or video appointment for some needs.

Find your provider's phone number to reschedule your appointment 

Send your provider a secure message to reschedule your appointment 

Prescriptions

Please request refills as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days before you need more medication.

Please also check that we have your current mailing address on file in your VA.gov profile. This is the address we'll use to send your prescriptions. If you need to, you can change your address in your profile.

Check your address in your VA.gov profile

Note: If you currently get your prescription sent to you by mail, you’ll continue to receive your refill requests as normal.

You'll need to actively request your refill in one of these ways:

For questions about your prescriptions, send a secure message to your health care team through My HealtheVet. You can also call your local VA medical center.

Send a secure message to ask your care team about your prescriptions

You can request a prescription renewal in one of these ways:

If your prescription renewal requires an in-person evaluation

If you need to renew a prescription for a medication that requires an in-person evaluation, we've temporarily updated our policy to allow this type of evaluation through telehealth (phone or video) appointment.

To request a telehealth appointment for a prescription renewal, send a secure message to your provider.

Send  your VA provider a secure message to request a telehealth appointment

VA health care eligibility and copays

We canceled and refunded copayments for all medical care and pharmacy services received through VA between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021. We also paused collection of unpaid copayments for services or medications received before April 6, 2020, during this time. We took these actions to offer relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of October 1, 2021, we’ve started to collect copayments again. We continue to offer financial hardship assistance. If you have questions, contact our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

Find out how to pay your copay bill or request help

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 medical debt relief

We base eligibility for VA health care on several factors, like your military service, discharge status, and whether you have a service-connected disability.

If you’ve lost your job or have a reduced income, you may qualify for enhanced eligibility status based on your income. This means we’ll place you in a higher priority group, which makes you more likely to get benefits and affects how much (if anything) you’ll need to pay for care.

Learn about VA health care eligibility 

Find out how to apply for VA health care

If you’re not eligible for VA health care, you may still be able to get care.

Call us at 800-827-1000 to find out what your care options may be. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Yes. If you're struggling because of life situations like losing your job, having a sudden decrease in income, or having an increase in out-of-pocket family health care expenses, we can help. You can request financial hardship assistance to manage your current VA copay debt or request an exemption from future copays. 

Learn more about requesting financial hardship assistance

Play a video about financial hardship options (YouTube)

You can also call our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238 to talk to someone about your options.

Benefit payments, claims, claim exams, and other services

Current benefits and payments

No. We’re currently processing all benefit payments as normal. This includes payments for disability, pension, education payments to your school, and more.  

View your VA benefit payments online

No. We won’t count any money received as part of the COVID-19 stimulus package as income for VA disability compensation, individual unemployability (TDIU), VA pension, or parent Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) beneficiaries. This means your payments will stay the same.

This depends on your school’s actions, and your attendance. Please be sure we have your current email address on file. We can send certain information only electronically, and some schools have shifted to only electronic communication during this time.

You can sign in to update your email online through our "Ask a question” tool.

Go to our "Ask a question" tool to update your email

Or call the Education Call Center toll-free at 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

If your school changes to online classes

If you’re currently receiving GI Bill benefits, payments will continue automatically. You don’t have to do anything. You’ll continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payments you received for resident training until December 21, 2021, or until your school resumes normal operations.

We’re working closely with schools to ensure enrollments are accurately certified and processed.

If your school temporarily closes

We’ll continue paying your benefits through the end of the terms or 28 days, whichever is sooner.

If your school is in session, but you can’t attend due to COVID-19

We can pay you through your last date of attendance, but not through the end of the term. This may result in debts and overpayment. If this happens, you can submit a waiver request.

Learn how to submit a waiver request

Learn more about how COVID-19 may affect your education benefits

Learn more about electronic communication

For on-the-job training and apprenticeships

If your training facility:

  • Changes to an online format, you’ll continue to receive your regular monthly housing payments.
  • Remains open, but you stop training due to furlough, illness, or other reasons, you’ll continue to receive your payments through the last day of your training.
  • Temporarily closes, you’ll receive your payments through the end of the program or 28 days, whichever is sooner.

Learn more about how COVID-19 may affect your education benefits

Learn more about electronic communication for the GI Bill program

You may be eligible for the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP). VRRAP offers education and training for high-demand jobs to Veterans who are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out if you're eligible and how to apply for VRRAP

Claims and applications

Yes. We temporarily closed all of our 56 regional offices for in-person visits due to COVID-19. At this time, some offices have reopened with limited hours and services. These offices may be screening visitors for COVID-19 symptoms. We require everyone entering a VA facility to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose.

For your safety and convenience, we continue to offer help online and by phone. Please call first to confirm services or ask about getting help by phone or video.

Find a VA regional office

To file a claim for VA benefits:

You can still file a claim online, by mail, or with the help of a trained professional.  And we can still answer your questions by phone and through our online customer service tool. We’re also continuing to support services like educational counseling, collecting information for fiduciary claims, and specially adaptive housing assistance by phone or approved video conferencing tools.

To get help with education benefits:

Call 888-442-4551 toll-free. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 711.

To get help with other benefits:

Call 800-827-1000 toll-free. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 711.

To check on the status of your claim or appeal:

 Use our online claim status tool

To stay updated on closures or service interruptions:

VBA Facebook
VBA Twitter: @VAVetBenefits

We’re currently granting extensions under good cause provisions for any claim or appeal paperwork deadlines if:

  • You or your authorized representative requests an extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  • The time limit on your claim or appeal expires on or after March 1, 2020

To request an extension for filing a claim or appeal

Simply add a note to your late-filed application that you’re requesting an exemption for timely filing due to COVID-19.

If you’ve already filed a claim and need more time to submit evidence or other documents

Continue to submit your requests for exemptions due to COVID-19 in writing or by phone at 800-827-1000.

Please tell us how much extra time you need. We won’t take final action on your claim until you’ve submitted your additional evidence or other documents to support your claim, or the extension period ends.

If you need to sign paperwork

We don’t require physical or wet signatures (meaning signed in ink) on claims applications or other documents, as long as your claim information and signature show no irregularities. Please work with your VA representative to find out which type of signature you’ll need for a specific benefit or service.

If you have any questions, please call us at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Yes. We know that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Veterans  may have challenges with finances or with visiting their health care provider to get their medical records.

To help Veterans who may need more time to apply after separating from service, we're extending the period to apply for VGLI.

If you're applying for VGLI between June 11, 2020, and December 11, 2021, you can:

  • Apply without needing to have a health review to provide proof of good health for up to 330 days after you separate from service. We've increased this by 90 days, from the standard period of 240 days.
  • Apply with a health review to provide proof of good health for up to 1 year and 210 days after you separate from service. We've increased this by 90 days, from the standard period of 1 year and 120 days.

Find out if you're eligible and how to apply for VGLI

If you have questions about VGLI, please call us at 800-419-1473. If you have hearing loss,  call  TTY: 711.

Yes. After temporary changes due to COVID-19, we’re starting to do in-person exams again in many locations. Our contract exam providers will conduct all in-person examinations.

Review locations where we’re now offering in-person exams

We’re also still doing many telehealth exams by phone or video. And we’re doing more records’ reviews using Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) exams. This means we’ll review your existing medical records and contact you for more information if needed, instead of requiring an in-person or telehealth exam.

If your claim requires an in-person exam and we can’t conduct the exam in person

Please make sure we have your up-to-date mailing address, phone number, and email address. 

Update your contact information online

A contract medical exam provider will contact you to reschedule an in-person exam for a later date when in-person exams are available in your area. You don’t need to do anything else at this time.

We temporarily closed our regional offices and stopped in-person appointments due to COVID-19. At this time, some offices have reopened with limited hours and services. These offices may be screening visitors for COVID-19 symptoms. We require everyone entering a VA facility to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose.

For your safety and convenience, we continue to offer help online and by phone. Please call first to confirm services or ask about getting help by phone or video.

Find a VA regional office

Getting help online or by phone

We’re using virtual services to hold appointments for some benefit activities by telephone or online video through VA Video Connect or other approved video meeting tools. Once your video appointment is scheduled, you’ll receive a VA Video Connect link.

Get VA Video Connect for virtual appointments

We’ll work with you to change your in-person appointment to a virtual appointment for benefits and services such as:

  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)

  • Chapter 36 educational and career counseling

  • Military service coordinators

  • Home loans: We’re working with lenders and appraisers to offer temporary options to continue processing and closing loans remotely. You can continue to work with your lender to follow state and local laws for notarizing documents. And you can designate an attorney-in-fact to use a Power of Attorney to sign documents on your behalf at closing.

  • Specially Adapted Housing grants: Our staff can help you complete the grant application process by phone, video, and email.

  • Fiduciary claims: We can conduct many field exams by phone. In cases where a phone exam isn’t appropriate, we may do a field exam through VA Video Connect. Our staff will contact you to set up a phone or video exam.

  • Transition assistance: You can follow the VA Transition and Assistance Program (TAP) curriculum and other learning modules online. Use your Common Access Card- (CAC-)enabled device to access the course (number TGPS-US006) through the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Knowledge Online website.

    Go to the DoD's Joint Knowledge Online website

    You can also explore VA benefits and services online. For more help by phone, ask your DOD TAP manager to connect you with a VA benefits adviser.

    Explore VA benefits and services online

Please work with your VA representative to reschedule appointments. If you have questions, you can also call us at 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

The Board of Veterans' Appeals will offer you a priority review to move your appeal to the front of the line. This is called “Advanced on the Board of Veterans’ Appeals Docket” (or AOD). 

Find out how to file for AOD and required documents

Check your VA claim or appeal status online

Debt, copays, appeals, and other financial concerns

Benefit and copayment debts

We canceled and refunded copayments for all medical care and pharmacy services received through VA between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021. We also paused collection of unpaid copayments for services or medications received before April 6, 2020, during this time. We took these actions to offer relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of October 1, 2021, we’ve started to collect copayments again. We continue to offer financial hardship assistance. If you have questions, contact our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

Find out how to pay your copay bill or request help

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 medical debt relief

To help with financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, we paused collection on all new VA benefit debt created between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021. We also offered a pause on collection for debts created before April 6, 2020, as well as repayment plans.

As of October 1, 2021, we’re starting to send debt notification letters again. We’ll send these letters over the next several months. We continue to offer debt repayment and relief options.

Get the latest updates on COVID-19 debt relief

For debt related to VA benefits: Call our Debt Management Center at 800-827-0648 (or 1-612-713-6415 from overseas), Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. Or use our online question form.

Find out how to manage your VA benefit debt

For debt related to VA medical care or pharmacy services: Call our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. 

Find out how to pay your copay bill or request help

If you’re experiencing financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19, call your loan servicer right away to request a forbearance plan. Your loan servicer is the company that collects your mortgage payments.

Forbearance lets you pause or reduce your loan payments for a period of time, without paying late fees or other penalties. Under a recent law, you may be able to request up to 12 months of mortgage forbearance on a VA direct or VA-backed home loan.

Note: Forbearance doesn’t lower or forgive the amount of money you owe on your loan. You’ll need to work with your servicer at the end of the forbearance period to set up a repayment plan.

If you have a VA-backed home loan

Call 877-827-3702 to talk with a VA home loan representative to request a forbearance plan or other help. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. If you have hearing loss and would like help to make a TTY call, call TTY: 711.

If you have a Native American Direct Loan (NADL)

Your loan servicer is BSI Financial Services. To request a forbearance plan, contact the BSI default resolution team at 800-327-7861 or customercare@bsifinancial.com

You can also call 877-827-3702 to talk with a VA home loan representative about other ways we can help you. 

Learn more about how we can help you avoid foreclosure

Get more help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):

Yes. If you're struggling because of life situations like losing your job, having a sudden decrease in income, or having an increase in out-of-pocket family health care expenses, we can help. You can request financial hardship assistance to manage your current VA copay debt or request an exemption from future copays. 

Learn more about requesting financial hardship assistance

Play a video about financial hardship options (YouTube)

You can also call our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238 to talk to someone about your options.

Other financial concerns

We base eligibility for VA health care on several factors, like your military service, discharge status, and whether you have a service-connected disability.

If you’ve lost your job or have a reduced income, you may qualify for enhanced eligibility status based on your income. This means we’ll place you in a higher priority group, which makes you more likely to get benefits and affects how much (if anything) you’ll need to pay for care.

Learn about VA health care eligibility 

Find out how to apply for VA health care

If you’re not eligible for VA health care, you may still be able to get care.

Call us at 800-827-1000 to find out what your care options may be. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

The Board of Veterans' Appeals will offer you a priority review to move your appeal to the front of the line. This is called “Advanced on the Board of Veterans’ Appeals Docket” (or AOD). 

Find out how to file for AOD and required documents

Check your VA claim or appeal status online

We offer many programs and services that may help—including free health care and, in some cases, free limited dental care. We can also help you connect with resources in your community, like homeless shelters or faith-based organizations.

Find the support you need:

  • Call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’ll talk privately with a trained VA counselor for free.
  • Contact your nearest VA medical center and ask to talk with a VA social worker. If you're a female Veteran, ask for the Women Veterans Program Manager.
    Find the nearest VA medical center to talk with a VA social worker

The coronavirus pandemic has brought new scams, including those that target stimulus checks, online tools, promises of new treatments, and charity donations.

You can take these steps to protect your identity and finances during this time:

Yes. If you receive VA disability or pension benefits, you’ll automatically get your third stimulus check. This check is also called an economic impact payment. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send your check even if you don’t file tax returns. You don’t need to do anything. 

If you have direct deposit set up with the IRS, you may receive your payment as early as March 12, 2021. Checks by mail will take longer. 

If you didn’t get your first or second stimulus check, or if you didn’t get the full amount, you may still be eligible to get a payment in 2021.

Learn more about economic impact payments on the IRS website

Note: Use only IRS.gov to get information about your stimulus check. Be careful of scams. Unless you’ve asked the IRS to contact you, they’ll never ask for personal or financial information by phone, email, or text. They also won’t ask you to open an attachment or visit a website link.

No. We won’t count any money received as part of the COVID-19 stimulus package as income for VA disability compensation, individual unemployability (TDIU), VA pension, or parent Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) beneficiaries. This means your payments will stay the same.

Status of VA national cemeteries and burials

Yes. VA national cemeteries remain open. But for the safety of employees and visitors, we ask that visitors follow physical distancing and travel restrictions based on CDC and local health department guidelines.

Some cemetery areas may be closed to the public. You should contact the cemetery for more information.

Find updates on the operating status of individual VA national cemeteries 

Yes. To schedule an interment, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117. VA national cemeteries remain open for direct interments of Veterans and eligible dependents.

Families must follow all COVID-19 safety requirements for attendee limits, masks, and physical distancing. 

Learn more about VA cemetery safety requirements

If you would like to cancel or postpone an interment that’s already scheduled, please contact the cemetery directly to cancel the service and to reschedule future services when ready.

Yes. We're holding committal and memorial services again at most VA national cemeteries. We've been contacting families who were unable to hold a service due to the pandemic so we can help them arrange one. Military honors are based on local availability.

Families must follow all COVID-19 safety requirements for service attendee limits, handling floral arrangements, wearing masks, and physical distancing. 

Learn more about VA cemetery safety requirements

Conditions and restrictions at local cemeteries can and will change in response to state, local, and federal guidelines and orders. Contact your local cemetery for specific information or details.

Get operating status updates for individual VA national cemeteries

Find your local VA cemetery

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