WASHINGTON, May 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) hosted a livestream about the challenges veterans are experiencing as the COVID-19 pandemic affects Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits processing and exams. VA Undersecretary of Benefits Dr. Paul Lawrence spoke with WWP Financial Wellness Vice President Tom Kastner about veteran benefits.
"With the onset of COVID-19, we put a stop to in-person C&P tests on April 2," Lawrence said. "The reality of the situation is that there are a lot of folks we have to see in person when it comes to testing, so we are working with some of our medical vendors to expedite this. Veterans should expect a communication on this within a month. But I want to make clear — if you miss a C&P exam because you don't want to leave your house, we will not deny your claim, and you will not lose your place in line."
Lawrence said the veteran benefits administration is still conducting disability exam testing digitally — and that this process could continue after the pandemic.
"We are adjusting to this new world and seeing what does and doesn't work," Lawrence said. "Some telehealth options work, but there are some things you can't do over the phone or digitally. We're anxious to keep using best practices going forward, and I hope to see telehealth become part of the new normal once we are back at full operational capability."
He also expressed his gratitude for the patience of American service members and veterans during the pandemic, stating that VA is aware of the backlog both within the benefits system and across other VA institutions such as the hospitals and cemeteries.
"The VBA is open for business, and while it is different than we imagine it normally, we're still here and still at it," Lawrence said. "We will be exploring other options, including possible legislative fixes, to see what other medical professionals can help us with the testing backlog. We intend to return to normal as fast as we can. We want veterans to know that we're going to honor our commitments and get them their benefits."
According to data from WWP's most recent Annual Warrior Survey, 90% of survey participants identified that they are receiving compensation benefits from VA, with 65% saying they have a disability rating of 80% or higher. More than one third have a rating of 100%.
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Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project