Ease Veteran Access to COVID-19 Relief Rebates

Ease Veteran Access to COVID-19 Relief Rebates
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie speaks during a daily COVID-19 briefing at the White House. (Photo via VA.gov)

Last week, MOAA joined fellow veterans’ service organizations to call on the secretaries of the departments of the Treasury and Veterans Affairs to make it easier for recipients of VA payments to receive stimulus money.


Congress took aggressive action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Along with funding for the response efforts, the bill authorizes a one-time payment called a “recovery rebate” to be sent to most American adults.


[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmaker to Help Streamline the Recovery Rebate Process for Veterans]


These $1,200 payments are subject to certain eligibility and income requirements. The process to verify the requirements and quickly distribute the aid is critically important to support those in need.


Individuals’ tax returns are one of the main tools for the government to automatically process a payment. Those who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 will automatically receive a payment via direct deposit, if eligible.


However, not all Americans eligible for the payment can be tracked through this method. Unique to the military community are veterans who have service-connected disabilities and survivors who receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).


[RELATED: What You Need to Know About the CARES Act]


MOAA co-signed an April 3 letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, calling on them to avoid unnecessary paperwork and to use existing systems to identify and make direct payments to VA beneficiaries and Social Security recipients.


“We are gravely concerned that absent quick and decisive action from the Administration, millions of seriously disabled veterans, their survivors and caregivers — who are among the most vulnerable Americans during the ongoing coronavirus health crisis — may never receive this critical financial support,” the veterans service organizations’ letter states.




In addition to VSO support, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) are urging cooperation between the Treasury and VA. Moran called for “leveraging existing resources and data with the IRS will reduce bureaucratic hurdles for our veterans and get them the needed CARES Act relief money faster.”


Additional letters were sent by Democratic senators and House leadership.


Quickly dispersing the recovery rebates is essential to decreasing the economic impact of COVID-19. Reach out to your member of Congress and ask them to join the call to decrease the burden on Social Security recipients and those receiving payments from the VA.


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About the Author

Cory Titus
Cory Titus

Titus separated from the Army in 2017 as a captain and is MOAA's Director of Veteran Benefits and Guard/Reserve Affairs. He is currently studying social entrepreneurship at George Mason University with a focus on improving military financial education.