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Trump Promises VA Extension of Benefits Deadlines and Postponed Debt Collections

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to shape the day to day life of every American, one group in particular might be feeling the biggest impact, veterans. Veterans are some of the most vulnerable among U.S. citizens because of their age and underlying health conditions argued senators Jerry Moran and Jon Tester as they urged Robert Wilkie, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to extend deadlines for disability benefits and postpone debt collections.

Veterans should not be leaving their homes to receive help with complex benefits paperwork argued the Senators during recommendations that all deadlines be delayed by 180 days. Fortunately for many veterans, Donald Trump promised in a White House briefing that the deadlines and debt collections would be extended. “We take very good care of our veterans,” Trump said. “At my direction, Secretary Wilkie will use any authority at his disposal to extend deadlines for benefits and postpone debt collections.”

In a report by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a nonprofit that aids post-9/11 veterans, it was claimed that the pandemic could disproportionately affect veterans. Researchers found that a large portion of veterans in the workforce are employed by industries most likely to experience immediate layoffs. This economic impact and social isolation could lead to an exacerbation in pre-existing mental health issues for a lot of veterans. This would ultimately create a larger strain on the VA, especially in the time of crisis.

Though an extension of benefit deadlines and debt collections is definitely helpful for veterans, there is still uncertainty regarding the actions the VA will take to accommodate for a likely increase in demand.  

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