VA COVID-19 news: hiring retired staff, GI Bill benefits continue

VA COVID-19 news: hiring retired staff, GI Bill benefits continue

Each day brings an increase to the number of coronavirus cases and deaths nationwide. And VA medical staff and patients are among these numbers.

COVID-19 positive cases at VA hospitals stand at 484 with seven patient deaths. And 75 VA employees have tested positive for the virus.

The Department of Veteran Affairs is doing everything it can to put safety measures in place to handle the ever-increasing demand that the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on VA facilities. VA has released information regarding access to VA facilities and what to do if you are exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. They also are in need of more medical staff and are offering re-employment for retired VA health-care staff.

VA is looking for health-care providers with interest and expertise in:

- Telehealth/virtual care

- Travel nurse corps

- Direct patient care/support (at a VA medical center and/or outpatient clinic)

For former VA clinicians interested in re-employment, apply online. VA officials are promising expedited hiring practices and dual compensation waivers for potential recruits, so that they don’t have to give up federal retirement benefits in order to start assisting at department medical centers.

Additional VA updates related to COVID-19

GI Bill benefits. Online learning has become the new norm for student veterans as campuses have shut down to the coronavirus outbreak. Student veterans will continue to receive their GI Bill benefits under bill S.3503, which President Trump signed into law March 21. According to VA, this law enables VA to continue providing the same level of education benefits to students having to take courses online due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also continues to provide GI Bill student veterans with the same monthly housing allowance until Dec. 21, or until in-person classes are resumed.

While students receiving GI Bill benefits are not required to take any action. GI Bill benefits will continue automatically without student veterans taking any action. However, if a student veteran has questions, they may contact the Education Call Center at (888) 442-4551.

Funeral services. Effective as of March 23, VA announced that “committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors will discontinue until further notice” for the safety of veterans, their families and VA staff in response to the coronavirus. Immediate family members of no more than 10 of the deceased may witness the interment if requested.

Families of deceased veterans who still wish to continue with interment may schedule a committal service for a later date by calling the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 or schedule a burial arrangement online here.

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