Our highest priority is keeping Arizonans healthy, safe, and economically secure.

Arizonans: the fastest way to get assistance or info. from our office is to email casework@sinema.senate.gov.

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VETERANS

We understand that the care you receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is crucial during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

  • The CARES Act passed in March includes $19.57 billion in funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the equipment, tests, telehealth capabilities and support services necessary to support veterans and the health care workforce at facilities nationwide.
  • Local area agencies on aging that provide services to veterans can enroll or renew veterans in a veteran-directed care program through the telephone or telehealth to ensure a face-to-face visit isn’t necessary, but that veterans can still receive services, such as home-based care.

Arizona VA Health Care Systems

To better serve and protect the healthcare of Arizona veterans, the three VA Health Care Systems in Arizona (Phoenix, Prescott, and Tucson) have implemented comprehensive protocols and screening measures for COVID-19.  Anyone with questions is encouraged to call or send a direct message via MyHealtheVet to their health care team.  

Arizona VA Medical facilities (Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, Phoenix VA Health Care System and Northern Arizona VA Health Care System) have begun a gradual reopening of limited services. In order to protect Veterans and staff, initial scheduling will be limited to a minimal number of face-to-face visits. Please contact your VA Medical Center to find out what services are available. 

Continued safety measures include:

  • Everyone arriving at the facility’s entrance will be asked screening questions and their temperature will be checked.
  • Everyone entering a VA facility must wear a face covering or mask. Masks will be provided at the screening checkpoint for those who do not bring their own.
  • Visitors are still not allowed inside the facility. Veterans who need physical assistance may be accompanied by a caregiver over the age of 18.
  • Strict social distancing will be practiced inside VA facilities. Minimal seating will be available, and patients will be directed quickly to exam areas.
  • Clinic staff may ask Veterans the screening questions again.

Virtual care options are still available for Veterans and include:

Flu Shots - Eligible Veterans can receive their no-cost flu shot from their local VA Medical Center, Community Based Outpatient Clinic, VA-Walgreens Partnership Pharmacy, community in-network retail pharmacy, or in-network Urgent Care care locations (available September 30, 2020).

  • To locate your nearest VA Medical Center and obtain information on hours, call 1-844- MyVA311 (844-698-2311) select option 1 or visit www.va.gov/find-locations
  • To locate a Walgreens near you, call 1-800-WALGREENs (800-925-4733) or visit www.walgreens.com/findastore. To receive a flu shot at a VA-Walgreen Partnership Pharmacy veteran must:
    • Show their VA Health Identification Card
    • Show an additional form of ID
  • Eligible veterans may also receive their flu shot at a Community Retail Pharmacy and Urgent Care. Arizona is located under the Community Care Network Region 4.  To learn more about the Department of Veterans Affairs Flu shot and eligibility, visit www.va.gov/communitycare/flushot.asp.

Prescription Refills - Veterans may request prescription refills, order, and have medications mailed to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app here or call (800) 949-1005 and press 1.

Choose the MyHealtheVet tab to log in. Register in the Annie app and following the instructions. 

In addition, we know that COVID-19 can be a cause for anxiety and stress which may trigger a crisis. 

If you are a veteran in crisis, please reach out for help:

If you are a Servicemember, National Guard member,  Reservist or a family member in crisis, please reach out for help:

In Maricopa County / Central Arizona 

In Northern Arizona

In Southern Arizona 

  • Community-wide Crisis Line: (520) 622-6000.
  • Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yuma Counties or on the San Carlos Apache Reservation: (866) 495-6735.

Tohono O'Odham Nation: (844) 423-8759.

Arizona Department of Veterans Services

Main Phone Line: 602-255-3373

The AZDVS headquarters building is closed to the public. All services are still operational and employees are working remotely. 

Arizona State Veteran Homes

  • Non-essential visitors are being asked to avoid coming to the building unless absolutely necessary
  • Visitors and staff are actively screening 
  • Visitors require prior approval and are limited to families and friends who need to visit a resident for critical or time sensitive reasons (hospice-related, medical authorizations, etc.) 
  • To receive prior approval for a visit, please contact the appropriate home:

Veteran Benefits Counselors (VBCs)

All physical VBC offices are closed. All VBC staff are working remotely and are still assisting veterans and families through virtual appointments and telephone calls.

Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemeteries (AVMC)

The administration buildings at all AVMCs are closed. Cemetery operations are still ongoing, but are limited to direct interments of caskets and cremated remains.

​​​​​Phoenix VA Regional Office - Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)

In an effort to safeguard Arizona veterans and its employees, the Phoenix VA Regional Office  will be temporarily closed to the public effective March 19, 2020. VBA will continue processing claims, however no in person visits will be accepted. 

Effective May 20, 2020 veterans can schedule telephonic appointments with the Phoenix VA Regional Office to talk to a member of the Veterans Service Center Public Contact Team. The VA Team member may provide a wide variety of services during these appointments, including but not limited to: VA Compensation claim status, benefit letters, eBenefits services, assistance in filing a claim. Walk-in services remain closed. 

To schedule an appointment, email: PCTC.VBAPHO@va.gov with your name, email address, telephone number, and reason for contact. For security reasons, veterans are asked not to provide their Social Security Number or Claim Number in the email. A VA employee will then contact the veteran to schedule a telephonic meeting. For additional information, visit www.va.gov or contact them via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) at https://iris.custhelp.va.gov or by phone at (800) 827-1000

Veterans and C&P appointments

  • The VA has resumed in-person Compensation and Pension exams at select locations across the U.S. To find a location near you and schedule an in person exam, visit https://benefits.va.gov/compensation/claimexam.asp.
  • Veterans who are not within the selected service areas may be served through telehealth appointments or appropriate clinical evidence process as determined by the Regional Office.
  • Veterans who are not comfortable with in person exams, may opt to reschedule their exams for a later date. This will have no impact on their disability claim and no final action will be taken on claims with pending in person examinations.

Claim Extensions and Late Paperwork

Effective April 3, 2020, Veterans have the option to submit their paperwork late for the following actions:

  • perfecting claims
  • challenging adverse decisions
  • submitting Notices of Disagreement
  • submitting Substantive Appeals
  • responding to Supplemental Statements of the Case

Veterans requesting claim extensions can submit them with any late-filed paperwork and do not have to request an extension in advance. VA will also accept typed/digital signatures on its forms. If you have questions, call 1-800-827-1000.

Appeals Management Office

VBA Decision Review Officers, who hold VBA hearings for legacy appeals in regional offices, will hold telephonic informal conferences in lieu of in-person DRO hearings if the Veteran or Veteran’s Representative selects this option. For Veterans who do not wish to utilize an informal conference, VBA is informing veterans that the DRO hearing is postponed until further notice.

Board of Veterans’ Appeals

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals has suspended in-person hearings until at least May 1, 2020. In-person hearings include central office hearings (veterans travel) travel board hearings (Veterans Law Judges travel to regional offices and conduct a hearing with the veteran), and video hearings (Veterans Law Judges are in DC and veterans are present at a VA facility). All veterans can choose to have their Board hearing held via a virtual hearing held from a location of their choosing.

For Veterans who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and need immediate action on their appeals, as opposed to a filing extension, the Board of Veterans' Appeals will advance their appeal on Docket (AOD).

For more information, visit www.bva.va.gov

GI Bill Benefits

The Senate passed Sinema-backed S. 3503 to give the Department of Veteran Affairs the authority to continue GI Bill payments uninterrupted in the event of national emergencies. The new law allows VA to continue to pay benefits regardless of the fact that the program has changed from resident training to online training. Students will also continue to receive the same monthly housing allowance payment that they received for resident training until January 1, 2021, or until the school resumes the normal operations of resident training.

If GI Bill users have questions about their benefit, contact the Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 between 8AM and 7PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.

Mortgage and Housing Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have a website to provide information on mortgage relief options, protections for renters, resources for additional help and information on how to avoid COVID-19 related scams.

VA Debt Relief

On April 3, 2020, the VA announced actions to extend financial relief to veterans, including:

  • Suspending all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.
  • Suspending collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, as the veteran prefers.

For benefit debts, veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make arrangements.

For health care debts, veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make arrangements.

VA National Cemeteries Administration

  • National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona and Prescott National Cemetery have remained open for interments and visitation throughout the pandemic.  Unfortunately, as a matter of health and safety, the cemeteries began deferring committal services and military funeral honors on March 23.   
  • The National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona and Prescott National Cemetery will resume committal services for families who are interring their loved ones on June 9.   
  • Families with interments scheduled on or after June 9 will be offered the option of a committal service at the time of interment.  Military funeral honors, customarily provided by the Department of Defense and volunteer honor guards, will be based on local availability.   
  • The National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona and Prescott National Cemetery continue to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The number of individuals attending committal services are limited to 10 individuals, all attendees are required to practice physical distancing between individuals not from the same household, all attendees and employees must wear face coverings and are encouraged to use hand sanitizer frequently, and sick individuals are asked to stay home.  
  • Families may continue to choose a direct interment without a service and opt for a memorial service later when all restrictions have been lifted.  
  • Memorial services for Veterans and eligible family members who were interred without a committal service between March 23 and June 8 will commence in July.  Cemetery representatives will be reaching out to these families in the coming weeks to discuss their options and schedule a memorial service, if desired.  Families may contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office directly to schedule a memorial service after June 29.

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Federal coronavirus-response legislation: click HERE.

Specific actions Kyrsten is taking on behalf of Arizona: click HERE.

Visit our main resources page: sinema.senate.gov/corona.