Signed into law March 11th, 2021, the American Rescue Plan offers nation-wide household stimulus checks, resources for reopening schools, and access to the Covid-19 vaccine, but it is also giving the VA $17 billion to further expand their services and benefits for veterans impacted by Covid-19.
So what part of this $17 billion will help disabled veterans?
First, $14.5 billion have been allocated to improve the VA Health Care system in order to make sure disabled veterans are able to receive their essential care in a reasonable timeframe. Covid-19 delayed health care access significantly for the millions of veterans relying on this care. The VA has been instructed to use these funds to ensure that all disabled veterans are receiving their full medical care and that those requiring housing assistance are properly cared for.
An additional $1 billion will reimburse disabled veterans for all copays or cost sharing they have incurred or will incur for their healthcare from April 6, 2020 to September 30, 2021. This includes debt forgiveness for all veterans who have been unable to pay these bills during this timeframe.
To ensure the safety and care of our disabled veterans in State Homes, the VA has been allocated $750 million to improve the living conditions in these facilities.
The infamous backlog of disability claims has almost tripled in the past year. The American Rescue Plan allocates $262 million to get these claims processed quickly so these veterans get their deserved and very necessary benefits. The VBA’s goal is to use these funds to reduce the backlog by more than half by September 2022.
An additional $10 million will be going only to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) to reduce the backlog of disability appeals.
Outside of the VA disability system, the American Rescue Plan will provide further help for unemployed veterans, veteran-owned businesses, and veterans in communities and populations disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.