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Veterans and COVID-19: Magnifying preexisting problems

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 2:58 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Homelessness, lack of health care and delays in receiving financial support: these are problems that some veterans may face. Add a global pandemic into the mix and veterans become one of the most hard-hit groups from COVID-19. Now, more than ever, veterans are particularly susceptible to both health and economic threats due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Jamie Rowan, associate professor of legal studies and political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, there are eight ways the pandemic threatens veterans. Those things, according to Rowan, are: age and other vulnerabilities, dangerous residential facilities, benefits unfairly denied, diminished access to health care, worsening mental health, complications for homeless veterans and those in the justice system, disability benefits being delayed and obstacles to getting stimulus checks.

Many of these problems existed long before the virus reached the U.S., but according to Rowan, because of the challenges posed by this situation, veterans who were already lacking adequate benefits and resources are now in deeper trouble, and it will be harder to answer their needs.

To read more about how veterans are being impacted by COVID-19, visit here.

If you’re a veteran in crisis or are concerned about one, there are caring, qualified Veterans Affairs responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, anonymous, confidential resource that’s available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. For more information about the Veterans Crisis Line, visit their website.

Some more resources for veterans include:

• 24/7 White House VA Hotline: 855-948-2311

• VA Benefits Hotline: 844-698-2311

• VA Caregiving Hotline: 855-260-3274

• VA Loan Center Hotline: 800-827-0648

• Health Care Debt Relief: 888-827-4817

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