Updates from the DAV National Service Office

Due to COVID-19 the VA Regional Office in Milwaukee is closed except on Monday so we can get mail. All VA employees and the DAV National Service Officers are working from home. Everyone is still employed and getting regular paychecks, including our support staff.

Since we are closed, you can reach us by email dav.vbamiw@va.gov.

You may also have the option to speak to a service officer by phone 888-604-0234 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Standard Time. The calls will be answered by 100 National Service Officers (NSOs). Assistant NSO Supervisor Joe Fuenger will be one of the NSOs. Calls are answered via a connection to their laptops. The NSOs providing assistance will be from around the country. If you call from Wisconsin, you may or may not get Joe. Calls cannot get transferred.

We are still submitting claims. The work is slightly slower than usual, but we are still meeting our production numbers.

Effective date of claims is the postmark on the envelope. We are submitting the envelopes with the claim so the period we were out of the office will not affect veterans.

With time sensitive forms, if the time limit has expired, a form or separate note must be filed saying it is late due to COVID-19 and it must request a waiver.

All hearings have been cancelled. Veterans can request a virtual hearing which is not conducted by our staff, but by the Washington DC Appeals staff. It is done similar to telehealth. Hearings have to be requested in writing then they get it set up.

Also, all in-person C&P exams are cancelled. All future exams will be done hopefully by telehealth.

Requests for DAV’s newly implemented COVID-19 relief fund are coming to our office. Joe and I are handling them.

Veterans have to submit verification of a service-connected disability and some sort of information that they lost income or employment due to COVID-19, such as bank statements, layoff letters, etc. It cannot be just because they lost their job in January. It has to be due to COVID-19.

As instructed, we are being as liberal as possible. So far we have approved 43 out of 45 applications. The grants are for $250 and the budget is $2.5 million. Overall, between 700 and 800 grants have been approved. We are getting requests every day.

Remember, we can be reached directly at dav.vbamiw@va.gov or you may call 888-604-0234 – Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST to speak to a National Service Officer.

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