Veterans will see significant help through the American Rescue Plan, VA Secretary Denis McDonough told the House Veterans Affairs Committee March 25 during a virtual hearing.

McDonough said the American Rescue plan will provide “significant resources that will help us continue to provide Veterans the best care and services during the pandemic.”

Veterans have seen delayed health care, including mental health care, due to COVID-19. Based on previous economic downturns, he noted that Veterans who lose their jobs and health care benefits often turn to VA for assistance.

“As the pandemic ebbs, we expect, and we are planning for, a surge in requests for care and services,” he said. “The ARP investments will be important for that effort.” (3:20)

The secretary also addressed the impact on the processing of compensation and pension claims. The claims backlog has increased from 76,000 cases in March 2020 to over 200,000. VA aims to decrease the compensation and pension claims backlog by over 112,000 by the end of 2022.

Another ARP resource will allow VA to reimburse copayments Veterans have made since April 2020. He said that will alleviate the burden through September of this year.

“Co-payments should not be an obstacle to care during the pandemic,” he said.

Other new resources will help VA build new facilities and improve operations and living conditions in State Veterans’ Homes. The secretary added that the plan helps train Veterans who are unemployed due to the pandemic into high-demand occupations and high-tech education programs.

“In short, the vital support the American Rescue Plan provides will help alleviate some of the pandemic’s most devastating effects,” he said. “Veterans have made their down payment – sometimes in blood and invisible wounds that may affect them the rest of their lives. Their sacrifices have earned them the care and services we provide. We exist to best serve them – not to do what is easy for VA.”

McDonough reiterated that every Veteran should feel welcome and safe whenever engaging with VA.

“We’ll welcome all Veterans, including women, Veterans of color, and LGBTQ Veterans,” he said. “Every person entering a VA facility must feel safe, free of harassment and discrimination. We will never accept discrimination, harassment or assault. Diversity is a strength, never a weakness, among Veterans, VA employees and indeed, all of America.”

More information

To read more about the American Rescue Plan, visit

VA is extending debt relief for Veterans through Sept. 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more at

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By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.

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Published on Mar. 26, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 271


  1. Patrick Bryan March 31, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Notice he says nothing about taking on the VBA, only the VHA, well the VBA needs alot of work too, look at the all thebacklog still standing??? Where or when will he take on that task?? The VBA needs just as much work and help as the VHA!!!!!!!

  2. Steve Taylor March 29, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Another good movie with a lot perspective on the VA is Article 99…

  3. Ronald Bower March 27, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Political appointee who will do nothing but make things worse. Example: I wrote a long response addressing issues that I personally experienced here. But did not copy it before posting.

    The “human check” after filling out the required fields ask: 22×30= __ the field only allowed 2 digits. I entered 660 several times. I concluded that maybe it only displays two characters. No one would be so stupid to only allow a two digit response to a 3 digit answer. WRONG. Deleted all the content I had written.

    This one at least is a single digit answer. This is an example of how the VA can screw up even a simple task. They lie, falsely doccument and refuse to reimburse expenses. The nurses have you empty your own bedpans and change your own sheets just hours after having a hernia repair surgery.

    “Born On The 4th Of July” shows what we still have in the Kansas VA. I am sure that what the politicians see in D.C. area are better, just like Walter Reed and Bethesda get the best doctors, staff and equipment.

  4. Ronald Bower March 27, 2021 at 11:07 am

    VA, the U.S. universal healthcare for veterans clearly shows why this Government can not handle controlling our Nations health care. They refuse to help Veterans, they write down (knowingly) false information in medical records. They refuse to reimburse Veterans expenses for medications, doctors visits, and prescriptions needed.
    Be prepared to change your own bedpans and sheets within hours of having surgery, while the nurse staff are too busy playing games or texting on their phones.
    I tell every young person that ask me about joining the service to watch, “Born On The 4th Of July” to see how your Country will treat you after you sacrifice your body and/or mind protecting Freedom. A wounded veteran will never enjoy the freedoms they sacrifice for.

    Every few years we get another political appointee to oversee this broken machine. At best, they leave with nothing improved. Most do more damage, as it appears this person will do.

    FYI, these are some of my personal experiences here in Kansas. I will admit that we do not get the same treatment as Veterans near D.C. because Congress persons and political appointees can spend a few hours a year visiting there and will have served their commitment to serving our Veterans.

  5. ANTHONY Reed March 26, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you for all your help over the years. And fast forward taking the bull by the horns and administing all the covid-19 vaccines at a record pace!! Now the hospital_Campus is starting to get back in motion. I’ve already had My appointments face to face in the office. Not over the phone. Only if necessary. Thank you again for all your help!!

  6. Veteran Spouses Matter March 26, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Despite President Biden signing executive order “SAVE LIVES ACT” 2 days ago, military and veteran spouses remain
    non-priority. Just lip service as usual for spouses. Veteran spouses won’t be vaccinated until May, giving them less priority than the General Public for the vaccine. Despite the contagiousness of the virus, only veterans themselves are a priority, the spouses that stuck by them through thick and thin- NADA. VA Office of Inspector General Office is the only office that responds to any questions regarding this- if you try to contact any Office of Veteran Affairs Administrative Office, all DC numbers go straight to voicemail- during the week, during business hours.

  7. Steve Taylor March 26, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    That’s great! But what are you going to do about the shortage of primary care and specialty care Doctors? You can’t get appointments now, how is it going to work after this big surge happens? People on welfare get better care then Vets…

    • SW March 26, 2021 at 5:43 pm

      I agree with Mr Taylor. More needs to be done so that Veterans can be seen at the V.A. rather than FARMED OUT.

  8. James Rushia March 26, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you for the much needed assistance.

Comments are closed.

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