COVID-19 Impact on Education Benefits

COVID-19 Impact on Education Benefits

Coronavirus Bill Contains Relief for Veterans

The new Coronavirus Relief Bill contains nearly $20 billion for veterans. Nearly $16 billion will go to VA hospitals for treatment of veterans with Covid-19, overtime for staff, personal protective equipment, test kits and other resources. Another $3 billion will go to building, equipping, and staffing temporary hospitals, clinics and mobile treatment centers, and for remodeling existing facilities, including state-run veterans homes, to isolate and care for veterans with the highly contagious illness. Some of the funding will also go towards supporting the VA information technology networks due to the increase in telehealth services. There are also provisions that will help veterans get better access to high speed internet so they can do routine appointments as well as mental health appointments remotely. For more information, click here.

GI Bill Information

Congress has introduced legislation that would alleviate the impact for GI Bill beneficiaries who have to switch to distance education due to COVID-19. The VA is asking all schools to temporarily refrain from making any adjustments to enrollment certifications if training has changed due to COVID-19. For more information, please refer to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official Facebook page.

Pentagon Orders Bases to Not Release Specific Covid-19 Numbers

Due to OPSEC concerns, the Pentagon has ordered military bases to stop releasing specific Covid-19 numbers.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week, "What we want to do is give you aggregated numbers. But we're not going to disaggregate numbers because it could reveal information about where we may be affected at a higher rate than maybe some other places." As of Monday March 30, 569 active-duty service members, 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members, and 64 contractors have tested positive for Covid-19. For more information on the order from the Pentagon, click here.

From US Marine Corps

From Defense.gov Website

DOD Press Releases COVID-19

OPSEC AND COVID-19:
Reporting COVID-19 Testing and Results Among Military

As part of our POSTING RULE 2: OPSEC and PERSEC, discussion or speculation on the numbers of troops or location of troops being tested or having tested for COVID-19 will not be permitted. Posting COVID-19 testing results of military members will not be permitted. There are no exceptions to this rule.

For obvious reasons, specific information about the health of our military forces is a direct violation of OPSEC.

Stating information about any Marine or recruit, your own or otherwise, testing for COVID-19 as it relates to their job duties as a military member (whether the results are positive or negative) is a violation of PERSEC and will not be permitted. Discussions of COVID-19 within your family are permitted as long as you do not identify the individual and do not state military affiliation.

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Monday, March 30, 2020: Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement on Monday "As we continue to grapple with the novel nature of COVID19, we are constantly assessing and adapting not only how we respond to combatting the virus, but also how we share critical public health information with our communities." Farah also said "We will not report the aggregate number of individual service member cases at individual unit, base or Combatant Commands. We will continue to do our best to balance transparency in this crisis with operational security."

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