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Agencies provide assistance for veterans

In just a very short time, America was changed significantly due to the worldwide infection of the dreaded COVID-19 virus. These resources can go a long way in helping to keep Southern Nevada as safe as possible.

The Nevada Department of Veterans Services has collected information about various local situations concerning the virus. Go to https://veterans.nv.gov. To access a resource guide to help military families learn more about the virus, go to https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.

Recently signed into law by the president, the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 ensures student veterans will not see a reduction in their monthly housing allowance as a result of their schools moving to online instruction due to the virus. For more information, go to https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.

The Nevada Division of Welfare and Social Services can provide assistance for those who qualify. Anyone who is eligible for the following services (or if they are unsure and want to apply) can file at accessnevada.dwss.nv.gov. The services are SNAP (EBT); Medicaid; child care assistance; child support enforcement; energy assistance (power bill help) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Information on Unemployment Insurance claims in Southern Nevada can be obtained from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Unfortunately, many veterans have been unable to get through to the office in a timely manner due to the overabundance of callers. The office is open and its employees are doing their best, and callers are urged to keep trying. Visit http://ui.nv.gov/css.html for more information.

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation has teamed with the Department of Labor and is implementing various programs related to the virus. The topics include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance support for otherwise ineligible workers, including self-employed; Pandemic Emergency Employment Compensation, and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. Details on these programs are available on the web, at https://detr.nv.gov, including many others too numerous to include here.

“This is like a wartime situation where everybody has to give a little bit of themselves. … We are not out of the woods yet,” said Rep. Susie Lee during a telephone town hall.

Participating in the town hall was Jim Berchtold, directing attorney for the Consumer Rights Project at the Legal Aid Center. He said his agency has been receiving 800 phone calls a day regarding scams and fraudulent sales pitches, many relating to the virus. He can be reached at 792-386-1070.

In the event any families are short on finances and require healthy meals, they can apply at Three Square (https://www.threesquare.org), Catholic Charities (https://www.catholiccharities.com/), Lutheran Social Services (https://www.lssnv.org/) and the Salvation Army (https://www.salvationarmysouthernnevada.org/), which operate mobile and permanent food pantries.

Veterans who receive health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in North Las Vegas are used to being able to access the facility or call various departments. But during the current health situation, the building is not open to all as in the past.

In addition, the local Veterans Affairs website takes little longer to come up, due to the many veterans who are logging on. But be patient, it can be done. Go to https://www.lasvegas.va.gov/ for the latest information. The site shows topics about the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center and community Veterans Affairs clinics. Some of the information is the same as above, but the site provides more expansive details about topics such as its no visitor policy; cancellation of elective surgeries and nonurgent procedures; cancellation of in-person group sessions, classes and courses; and Fisher House closure.

Veterans can also use virtual care options such as telehealth (https://telehealth.va.gov/) or (https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/home), or secure messaging (https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/home). Care in the home via VA Video Connect (https://mobile.va.gov/) is also available.

Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and the host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.

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