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Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to know

Read this page to get answers to questions about COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and benefit updates.

Check your VA health facility’s COVID-19 health protection levels before you go

When you come to a VA health facility, your health and safety is our priority. As COVID-19 levels change in our local communities, we’ll adjust our health protection levels at each facility to meet the current needs. These include guidelines for masks, COVID-19 symptom screening, and visitors.

Go to your VA health facility’s website to check their current health protection level before you go. We update the website with any changes in levels on Mondays.

Find your nearest VA health facility’s website

Learn more about the guidelines for each protection level

COVID-19 vaccines

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

Note: It’s always your choice if you want to get a vaccine or not. Your decision won’t affect your VA health care or any of your VA benefits in any way.

Updated booster shots are arriving at VA and will be available at most VA health facilities starting the week of September 12, 2022. These updated boosters protect against both the original virus strain and the Omicron variant. 

We’ll offer updated COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at no cost. If you’re an eligible Veteran or family member, you can get an updated booster if all of these are true for you:

  • You’re at least 12 years old, and
  • You completed your primary vaccine series, and
  • You got your last primary vaccine dose or booster at least 2 months ago

Learn how to get your updated COVID-19 booster shot

COVID-19 testing at VA

We offer diagnostic testing for Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care. At this time, we’re not charging a copay for COVID-19 testing. 

Learn how to apply for VA health care 

The fastest way to get a test is to request an appointment.

You can request an appointment in any of these 3 ways: 

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 testing at VA

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.

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 testing at VA

If you’re enrolled in VA health care, you can request up to 2 free self-test kits at your next primary care appointment or urgent care visit.

We’ll also provide self-test kits to Veterans in other situations, depending on local supplies. For example, we’ll provide self-test kits to Veterans who are currently experiencing homelessness and living in shared community spaces.

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 testing at VA

Other ways to get free self-test kits

You can also get more free self-test kits at many local pharmacies. If you have health insurance, your plan may pay you back for tests. Check with your local pharmacies for more information. 

Find more about ways to get tests at COVID.gov

  • If you didn’t take your test during a VA video appointment, take a picture of your test results. You can share this picture with your VA health care team.
  • Contact your VA health care team right away. If you need treatment, you must start it early for it to work. Some treatments must start within 5 days of your first symptoms.
  • Separate yourself to keep others safe. Isolate for at least 5 days from when you first started having symptoms or from when you tested positive. If you can’t fully isolate, wear a well-fitting mask any time you’re around other people for at least 5 days.
  • Tell anyone who you’ve been in close contact with in the past few days that you tested positive. For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was less than 6 feet away from you for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. 
  • Monitor your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, contact your provider or nearest VA health facility. 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 you have any signs of emergency, call 911 or get help right away. Signs of emergency include symptoms like trouble breathing or continued pain or pressure in your chest.
    Get the latest COVID-19 symptom information on the CDC website

Note: If your self-test results are positive, you don’t need to schedule a lab test.

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 testing at VA

COVID-19 symptoms, treatment, and research

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, request a lab test appointment at VA or take a self-test at home. If your result is positive, tell your health care team right away. If you need treatment, you must start it early for it to work. Some treatments must start within 5 days of your first symptoms.

Check COVID-19 symptoms on the CDC website

Get answers to more questions about COVID-19 testing at VA

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

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

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.

  • Stay connected and healthy. Connect with friends and family by phone and social media if you can't gather in person. Follow your normal routine as much as possible, and get enough sleep and exercise. 
  • Learn more about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. You can get answers to your questions and learn how to get a vaccine at VA on our main vaccine page.
    Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines at VA
  • Keep your existing mental health appointments. If you need or want to request telehealth (phone or video) appointments, ask your care team about your options.
    Send your VA provider a secure message
  • Ask for a new mental health appointment. If you need same-day mental health care—or want to request a new appointment—call your local VA health facility. 
    Find a VA location to request a mental health appointment

Get more VA tips for maintaining your mental health

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

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. 

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

Get answers to COVID-19 treatment questions on the FDA 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. 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

Health care, appointments, and more

Appointments and health protection levels

When you come to a VA health facility, your health and safety is our priority. As COVID-19 levels change in our local communities, we’ll adjust our health protection levels at each facility to meet the current needs. 

When COVID-19 levels are low

  • Masks: Everyone must wear a mask.
  • Entry screening: Please self-screen, even if you have an appointment. If you’ve had any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 48 hours, call first unless you need care now. Read the next question on this page to learn more about how to self-screen.
  • Physical distancing: Not required.
  • Visitors: Visitors are welcome. For inpatients and residents, your care team will determine the time and length of the visit on a case-by-case basis.
  • Appointments: We encourage in-person appointments.

When COVID-19 levels are medium

  • Masks: Everyone must wear a mask.
  • Entry screening: Please self-screen, even if you have an appointment. If you’ve had any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 48 hours, call first unless you need care now. Read the next question on this page to learn more about how to self-screen. 
  • Physical distancing: Not required.
  • Visitors: Your care partner is welcome. No other visitors. If you have questions about other visitors, ask your care team.
  • Appointments: We encourage in-person appointments. If you’d like a phone or video appointment, ask your care team about your options.

When COVID-19 levels are high

  • Masks: Everyone must wear a mask. Your care team will wear masks. They may also wear goggles or face shields when they meet with you.
  • Entry screening: Your facility’s staff may screen you for COVID-19 symptoms at the entrance. Or they may ask you to self-screen, even if you have an appointment. If you’ve had any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 48 hours, call first unless you need care now. Read the next question on this page to learn more about how to self-screen.
  • Physical distancing: Required. Stay at least 6 feet away from others as you move around the facility.
  • Visitors: Approved visitors only. Ask your care team who can visit.
  • Appointments: Ask your care team about phone or video appointment options.

Go to your VA health facility’s website to check their current health protection level before you go. We update the website with any changes in levels on Mondays. If you’re planning to go to facilities in more than one county, be sure to check each facility’s level.

Find your nearest VA health facility’s website

Read this list of COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Headache or muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

If you’ve had any of these symptoms within the past 48 hours, call first unless you need care now—even if you have an appointment. We’ll help you get any needed tests or treatment for COVID-19. Or you can go to the emergency room for COVID-19 treatment.

Note: These are not all possible COVID-19 symptoms.
Check COVID-19 symptoms on the CDC website

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 if 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 masks on the CDC website

You can get up to 3 free N95 or KN95 masks for each person in your home. Many of the pharmacies that offer free vaccines also participate in the free mask program. Before going to a pharmacy near you, call to ask if they participate and if they have masks available. 

Find pharmacies in the vaccine program on the CDC website 

If you’re a Veteran experiencing homelessness, we’ll give you a free mask. Contact a VA health facility near you. Ask to connect with homelessness program staff.

Find a VA health facility near you

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

We try to avoid canceling in-person appointments and elective procedures due to COVID-19 whenever possible. If we do need to cancel, 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 

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

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

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 Ask VA.

Contact us online through Ask VA

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 you’re taking online classes

If your school or program offers approved online classes or training, you’ll continue receiving GI Bill benefits automatically. You don’t have to do anything.

Note: To help students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we paid in-person (called “resident”) monthly housing allowance rates if you were enrolled in online classes from March 1, 2020, to June 1, 2022. As of June 2, 2022, your monthly housing allowance payments changed back to the online rate. The online rate is half the national average.

If your school or program doesn’t offer approved online classes or training, you’ll need to return to in-person classes to continue receiving GI Bill benefits as of June 2, 2022.

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

If your school temporarily closed

For schools that temporarily closed between March 1, 2020, and June 1, 2022, we continued paying your benefits through the end of the term or 28 days, whichever was sooner. This ended on June 2, 2022.

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

If this happened between March 1, 2020, and June 1, 2022, we continued paying your benefits through your last date of attendance, but not through the end of the term. This may have resulted in debts and overpayment. If this happened, you can submit a waiver request.
Learn how to submit a waiver request

As of June 2, 2022, we can no longer pay benefits if your school is in session, but you can’t attend due to COVID-19.

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. 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

Each location will adjust rules for masking as needed. For example, if your county has high levels of coronavirus transmission, everyone will need to wear a mask.

Be prepared to wear a mask at any VA location. Our staff will explain the location’s current mask rules when you arrive.

You can also choose to wear a mask at any time. And if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you’ve had a recent positive test or recent contact with someone with COVID-19, you should wear a mask.

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 contact us online through Ask VA.

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:

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