COVID-19

News & Resources 

BREAKING: IRS reopens deadline for veterans who missed coronavirus stimulus checks

9/1/2020 - Veterans who missed out on coronavirus stimulus checks in the spring now have until September 30 to register with the IRS. [Read More]
 

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PVA’s Response

Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and welfare of our members and staff, many of our National Service Officers (NSOs) working at VA Spinal Cord Injury Centers, VA Medical Centers, and VA Regional Offices are working remotely.

We remain deeply committed to continuing to provide the services our members depend on. During this time, our NSOs remain available to assist you with your health care and benefit needs and can be reached by calling your local National Service Office. Phone lines and email are consistently monitored throughout the day to address your needs. To find the contact information for your NSO, please visit: https://pva.org/find-support/national-service-office/.
Paralyzed Veterans of America is committed to the health and well-being of our members, caregivers, staff, community and all veterans. 
 


A Message from PVA Director of Medical Services

Amanda Millisits, PVA's Director of Medical Services shares valuable information on the CDC recommended use of face masks:

More information on COVID-19 and CDC-recommended precautions is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.
 


PVA Member Guidance

 
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PVA's Response to COVID-19
and Q&A with PVA Staff Experts

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 Update on VA's SCI/D
System of Care

View Webinar Timeline | View Transcript
Career Opportunities During COVID-19
View Transcript


The spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D) population is one of VA’s most susceptible populations to the novel corona virus. All VA SCI/D Centers will adopt a “no visitor” stance, meaning no outside visitors will be permitted to see inpatients. Exceptions will be when veterans are in their last stages of life or any other extenuating circumstance.

Routine SCI/D admissions including annual examinations and respite will be rescheduled. If you are experiencing difficulty gaining access to your SCI/D team or need acute admission and are denied, please contact one of our service officers near you.

Outpatient clinics are only accepting urgent appointments. Non-urgent, routine appointments are being rescheduled to a later date or scheduled as a telehealth appointment when feasible.

Guidance on COVID-19 - Whether you're feeling sick or in need of supplies, our decision trees can help you navigate your options.

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UPDATE: View the latest PVA Member Survey - over 500 respondents revealed the impact COVID-19 is having on their health, finances, and their lifestyles as some communities begin lifting stay at home orders. View Survey #1 or View Survey #2 or View Survey #3
 
Click to View Survey

Important Member Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do I do if I get sick and need to be admitted into an SCI/D Center? 
    If you believe you need admission to an SCI/D Center, contact your SCI/D care team by calling them or sending a secure message through MyHealtheVet. If you experience a medical emergency, call 911.

  • What do I do if I get sick? 
    Contact your SCI/D care team by calling them or sending a secure message through MyHealtheVet.

  • What do I do if I think I might have the corona virus?
    If you have a fever, cough, flu-like symptoms, or think you may have come in contact with the corona virus, contact your local VA Medical Center or doctor's office prior to visiting.

  • What do I do if the SCI/D Center says that they won't admit me as a patient?
    At this time, SCI/D Centers are limiting admission to new injuries and emergent care. Telehealth appointments are offered as an alternative when appropriate. If you feel telehealth is inadequate in meeting your care needs, contact your local PVA Service Officer.

  • What do I do if I can't get urgent care in my community?
    Visit one of the nearest VA hospitals, clinics, or community-based outpatient clinics.
If you have a specific question, please contact us at 1-800-424-8200 or reach out to your local PVA Service Officer.   

For more answers to FAQs from the VA, visit: https://www.va.gov/coronavirus-veteran-frequently-asked-questions/
 

Combatting Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness During COVID-19 


Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) wants our veterans and their caregivers to overcome loneliness during this time of social distancing.

While sheltering in place helps us stop the spread of COVID-19, the decreased social engagement and lessening of medical visits can lead to feelings of helplessness, isolation, and loneliness. For those living with mental health issues and chronic diseases, we may see a worsening of symptoms. There are things we can do to take care of ourselves and help #BeThere for others. If you are able, try to spend a little time outdoors each day, even if just for a few minutes on your front porch, as there are many benefits to being outside. Keep your mind occupied and take a break from the news by working on free coursework, listening to audiobooks, watching virtual concerts, plays, & tours of museums, or calling or writing friends and loved ones. Don’t have internet access? For the next two months, Comcast is providing free internet service for disabled veterans.

If you do find yourself struggling with increased anxiety, depression or other psychological symptoms, you can call or text mental health professionals at Psychological Health Center of Excellence Psychological Recourse Center, call or chat with peers at Veterans 4 Warriors, or use some of the self-help strategies at Make the Connection. If you need help right away, we encourage you to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, and press "1" if you are a veteran, texting 838255, or chatting via their website.

You can also view the VA's latest on information on maintaining your mental health here:  https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/
 

RESOURCE CENTER


Jump to specific resources and support for: Healthcare, Mental Wellness, Caregivers, Financial, Latest from the VAOther Resources

GENERAL COVID INFORMATION
  • The ADA and Face Mask Policies - This fact sheet offers answers to questions about the issue of face mask policies, wearing face masks, reasons why a person with a disability might not be able to wear a face mask, and the legal rights a person has under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Self-Care in the age of COVID-19 - Learn how to manage stress and anxiety in uncertain times with tips from Clinical Neuropsychologist, Dr. Shelley S. Leiphart, Psy.D.  [View Webinar] [View Presentation PDF
  • Guidance on COVID-19 - Whether you're feeling sick or in need of supplies, our decision trees can help you navigate your options.
Click to view PDF  Click to view PDF
  • Guidance on Face Masks - PVA Director of Medical Services Amanda Millisits provides valuable information on face masks.
  • PVA Member Surveys - PVA conducted three surveys with members that revealed the impact COVID-19 is having on their health and their ability to access care. View Survey #1 or View Survey #2 or View Survey #3
  • VA Live Tele-TownHall Schedule - Join Under Secretary Paul Lawrence as the VA presents information on VBA’s COVID-19 response, Solid Start, Blue Water Navy and Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP).
  • Emergency Checklist - Unforeseen events can happen at any time and last for a few hours, days, weeks, or possibly months. Learn how to best prepare yourself with a checklist by PVA staff experts.
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public from WHO - learn when and how to use masks, protective hygiene, social distancing and more.
  • Wheelchair and Assistive Technology Users - Learn more about precautions for COVID-19. Read more
  •  You can prevent COVID-19 exposur or transmission by Accessing VA Care From Home
  • Germ Warfare by PN Magazine - Learn how bacteria, germs, and viruses on your wheelchair can effect your health and how you can combat them.

HEALTHCARE
  • VA Health App now available to Veterans across all mobile and web platforms all Veterans can now securely connect to their health care data online.
  • Get prescription refills during the Pandemic with VA Health's New RX Refill mobile app.
  • C&P Examination Alternatives During Pandemic - The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is providing information about utilizing alternatives to in-person Compensation and Pension (C&P) examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic to support social distancing and the safety and health of Veterans and clinicians.  VBA will continue to complete as many examinations as possible using virtual means that do not involve a face-to-face examination. 
  • Learn common warning signs of Autonomic Dysreflexia and ways to treat it. We  encourage our members to print and keep this card handy in the event they are taken to a community hospital or VA hospital that doesn't have an SCI unit during this pandemic.  Download the AD Wallet Card
  • VA expands virtual services to support Veterans amid regional office closures due to COVID-19 pandemic Learn more.
  • How to Access VA Urgent Care - Use VA's urgent care benefit to treat minor injuries and illnesses that are not life-threatening, such as colds, strep throat, sprained muscles, infections and more. Learn more

MENTAL WELLNESS
  • Learn how you can manage and cope with the stress of COVID-19 direct from PVA's Medical Services team. Watch the video by Associate Director of Medical Services, Katelyn Johnson or read the blog byChief of Medical Services, Dr. Stephen Yerkovich.
  • View the VA's latest on information on maintaining your mental health here:  https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/

CAREGIVERS
  • Caregiver Community Connection - C3 will highlight community resources available to military caregivers over the days and weeks to come. Topics will include: mental health and wellbeing, promoting self-care at home, activities to do with your families, financial wellness, physical health, and nutrition.
  • Caregiving Resources in the Community for Veterans and Their Families - this paper is intended to identify many of the caregiver community programs overseen by the federal government that may benefit all veterans and their families.
  • Caregiver Support Program Information for Caregivers During COVID-19 - The CSP is here to provide support to you during this uncertain time. Your local Caregiver Support Coordinator (CSC) can link you to important resources and services that are available to you, as a caregiver, and to the Veteran.
  • Caregiver may experience higher stress levels as they navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, learn how to avoid caregiver burnout with a blog by Maureen Elias of PVA Government Relations.

FINANCIAL
OTHER RESOURCES
  • Comcast is offering free internet services for low-income Veterans. To check eligibility and sign up, applicants can visit  www.internetessentials.com
  • Avoiding Disability-Based Discrimination in Treatment - This document from organizations with expertise in federal disability rights laws provides a more detailed explanation of how the requirements set forth in the HHS Bulletin would apply and how states and health care providers can take steps to modify policies and practices to avoid disability discrimination.
  • The VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program released guidance to all Regional Offices that policy will be adjusted to accept a typed signature, which will apply to any form that requires a participant’s signature. All forms are available in PDF format at www.va.gov/vaforms.
  • President Trump signed into law S. 3503, March 21, which will enable the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue providing the same level of education benefits to students having to take courses online due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Learn more
 

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