The coronavirus pandemic has shifted life for virtually every individual around the world. Life looks much different now than it did even at the start of 2020, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to what we view as normal anytime soon. More importantly, the pandemic has affected both the health and the livelihood of millions of Americans, many of whom count among the veteran population. In an effort to provide some relief (and stimulate the flagging economy), the government along with multiple organizations have stepped in to assist veterans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to coronavirus relief for Veterans – what is available and how can it help?
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act slated to provide much-needed economic relief for struggling industries and workers. Among the earmarked funds was nearly $20 billion for veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs. How exactly does the CARES Act affect veterans? Here are just a few ways:
Over $15 billion for the Veterans Health Administration for supporting staff overtime pay, personal protective equipment (PPE), test kits, and more. Several billion was also designated to cover building and reinforcing infrastructure such as temporary hospitals to support heavier loads of patients with COVID-19. In addition, boosting support for telemedicine networks allows the Veterans Health Administration to keep up with essential care remotely.
Disaster Unemployment Relief
What about veterans whose income and work have been affected? There is relief built into the CARES Act for this, too. As a part of the CARES Act, veterans can be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Relief, which is an additional $600 per week in benefits on top of any state unemployment the individual qualifies for. You should check with your state’s unemployment office for more on what benefits you and your family may qualify for.
Paycheck Protection Program
For veterans who own their own business or are gig workers, sole proprietors, or individual contractors, there are also other relief options such as the Paycheck Protection Program loan, which gives a potentially forgivable loan of up to 2.5 times the monthly payroll of a business.
Veterans may also be eligible for pandemic associated tax credits for the 2020 tax year. The amount of the tax credit is determined by number of children and adjusted gross income figures.
And of course, most Americans are eligible for the one-time stimulus payment of at least $1200, which is payable even if you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return.
All of these economic relief options are intended to keep veterans on their feet and able to support themselves and their dependents. Even in the face of lost income or work, there are options to help make ends meet until we can get through to the other side of this pandemic.
And there are other options outside of government programs, too. Many nonprofit organizations have stepped up to help veterans in need during this uncertain time. The Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, and PenFed Foundation are just a few examples of organizations that have started relief funds or grant programs of their own. The intent is to help veterans navigate job loss or other unforeseen circumstances with some small relief amounts to bridge the gap.
Navigating the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for most individuals, but it’s good to know that there are relief options in place designed to help as many people as possible. Checking into all of your options as a veteran will help give you some peace of mind in the face of much uncertainty.