The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken a number of steps to help veterans with financial, benefits and claims relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Until further notice, the VA is suspending all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department; and suspending collection action or extending repayment terms on pre-existing VA debts, as the veteran prefers.
If a veteran has debt being collected by VA and needs relief, they must call to make arrangements. These debts will not stop on their own.
“As all Americans come together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we want veterans to be focused on their health and safety,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a press release. “That’s why we’re taking action to give those with pending debts, claims and appeals greater flexibility during these challenging times.”
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.