VBA is implementing the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. Signed into law March 11, the ARP ensures Veterans have continued access to quality health care and protections against COVID-19, as well as providing economic relief, eliminating claims backlogs, facilitating modernization to the supply chain system, and decreasing appeals to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Helping Veterans through the pandemic
The pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis have had a tremendous impact on the health and economic wellbeing of millions of Veterans. Now, the American Rescue Plan will help America’s Veterans bounce back.
The $1.9 trillion coronavirus economic relief package for Americans allocates $17 billion in support of VA’s nationwide response to the pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan:
- Provides $262 million to reduce the backlog of compensation and pension claims, which has grown from 76,000 in March 2020 to more than 212,000 in March 2021. The ARP funding will enable VBA to reduce the claims backlog to around 100,000 by September 2022.
- Closes what is known as the “90/10 loophole” to protect the integrity of the GI Bill and Veterans in receipt of their well-earned educational benefits.
- Provides $386 million to initiate a COVID–19 Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program that provides up to 12 months of training and employment assistance for certain unemployed Veterans to enter high demand occupations.
- Assists communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, many of which are Veterans living in diverse communities across the country.
VBA is dedicated to ensuring that all Veterans receive the benefits they have earned and will ensure the proper resources are in place to meet the needs of our Veterans, their families and survivors.
Learn more about the American Rescue Plan.
To apply for VA benefits, visit VA.gov.
Shawn D. Graham is a public affairs specialist with VBA Outreach, Transition and Economic Development office.