The TAPS Daily - April 23, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily - your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces from across the military and veteran community during the COVID-19 response.
- Here's what grieving military families can teach civilians dealing with coronavirus tragedy
TAPS families of the fallen are no strangers to isolation after loss. TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll shares how their experience is helping others dealing with COVID-19.
- Some Veterans Need to Fill Out This Form ASAP to Get Their Stimulus Payment
If you receive Department of Veterans Affairs disability or pension payments and didn't file taxes for the last two years, you may want to hurry over to the IRS website and fill out a form to get your stimulus payment.
- Elizabeth Warren's brother Don Reed dies from COVID-19
Former presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, announced today the death of her brother, Donald Reed, from coronavirus. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Reed began his 20 year career in the United States Air Force at age 19.
- Thunderbirds, Blue Angels Team Up for Dramatic Salute to Coronavirus Responders
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams are set to fly over multiple cities as a show of solidarity for health care workers on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- One Thing Space Agencies Must Watch Out for Now: Cats
Space engineers working from home have sparked a public debate - how to keep cats from accidentally commanding spacecraft while jumping on home laptops.
- CNN and Sesame Street will host a special coronavirus town hall for kids and parents
CNN is partnering with Sesame Street for a special town hall Saturday at 9 a.m. ET about coronavirus, focused on kids and parents. "The ABC's of COVID-19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents" will tackle issues including education, anxiety, screen time and playdates.
TAPS In the News
- TAPS work on behalf of National Guard families highlighted
(@JakeTapper on Twitter)
From @TAPSorg: “Captain Douglas L. Hickok is the first United States National Guardsman to lose the battle with COVID-19.
- Spotlight on TAPS work to help those grieving during COVID19
(@LeoShane on Twitter)
Advice from @TAPSorg on how to deal with grief during the coronavirus outbreak -- unfortunately, military families are already familiar with unexpected tragedy and loss.
- Waiting out a pandemic that feels like war: Insights from an Iraq War veteran
Army veteran Matt Mabe, TAPS Director of Strategic Operations for Suicide Prevention and Postvention, poignantly shares his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic.
- TAPS helping National Guard troops and families impacted by COVID-19
(New York Times)
As the National Guard responds to the coronavirus pandemic, TAPS is working to ensure personnel and their families are eligible for active duty benefits.
Government Relations / Benefits
- DoD Guidance on Hardship Duty Pay for Restriction of Movement During COVID-19
DoD releases guidance on Hardship Duty Pay for service members ordered by their command to self-monitor somewhere other than their home if they are not on official travel orders.
- COVID-19 Guidance on TRICARE Reserve Select
DoD releases information explaining how the COVID-19 emergency impacts Tricare Reserve Select premiums.
- COVID-19 Guidance on Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
DoD releases information about Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance during COVID-19 response efforts.
- COVID-19 Update on Special and Incentive Pays
DoD releases information about special and incentive pays during COVID-19 response efforts.
- DoD Guidance for Basic Allowance for Housing Entitlements Impacted by COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
DoD releases BAH guidance for service members who have entered into a rental or purchase agreement at their prospective duty station, but are unable to execute PCS orders due to travel restrictions.
- DoD Response to Coronavirus/COVID-19 – DoD ID Cards and Benefits
Do you have a new family member you need to register in DEERS to establish TRICARE eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic? Temporary processes are in place to allow family members to enroll via mail or fax through September 20, 2020.
- Lawmakers pass second emergency package to protect student veterans from coronavirus losses
Congress on Tuesday finalized a second GI Bill fix for student veterans whose studies were upended by the coronavirus pandemic, sending the package to the White House to be signed into law in coming days. TAPS has been working with the Congress to fix GI Bill benefits for both student veterans and surviving military family members.
- Here's When Coronavirus Checks Will Arrive if You Get Social Security, SSI
If you receive Social Security or SSI benefits and filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, you may have already received a coronavirus payment last week when the IRS started making them via direct deposit. Otherwise, here's what you can expect.
- Tutor.com Extends Free Tutoring for Military Families
Tutor.com has temporarily expanded eligibility for military families who are now quarantined during coronavirus pandemic.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- During pandemic, military community seeks more mental health care than other Americans, survey finds
(Stars and Stripes)
Post-9/11 service members, veterans and their families sought mental health care in greater numbers than other Americans did as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, according to a new survey.
- High school seniors get creative while also grieving this year's rites of passage
The class of 2020 is feeling the heartbreak of saying goodbye prematurely — to friends, teachers and what might have been the most fun and meaningful months of their high school careers. Here's how some seniors are reinventing their final months of high school — or handling it when they can't.
- We need to talk about alcohol and suicide
The Department of Defense’s educational campaign for responsible drinking offers resources to service members; cautions while alcohol does not cause suicide, it can play a role. Some say it is the second largest risk factor for suicide and suicide attempts, right after depression.
- Military Matters Review: Vets helping other vets with mental health care
(Stars and Stripes)
A network of mental health professionals who are veterans or spouses of veterans are helping fellow veterans in need find assistance from the folks who understand best what they’re going through.
- Ways to keep the family sane during this staycation
(Task and Purpose)
Help your family relieve stress and have fun during this time at home with these creative ideas from PCSgrades.
- My Dad Just Died Of The Coronavirus. Here Is What His Last Days Alive In The Hospital Were Like.
My dad just died from COVID-19. Here is my chronicle of the last two days. Stay safe. Sending love.
- Instagram Is Rushing To Roll Out A Memorial Account Feature Because Of COVID-19 Deaths
Instagram is speeding up plans for a new account memorialization feature, adding a “Remembering” banner under a username to signal that a person has died
- A counsellor gives her advice for coping with bereavement and grief during lockdown
Grief affects each and every one of us differently, but across the board, being in lockdown is changing how the process plays out.
- Latest National Guard COVID-19 update: Troop count at 43,300 with about 80 percent on Title 32 orders
There are more 43,300 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors as of Thursday afternoon. That’s an increase of about 1,700 from Wednesday.
- 26 US Navy ships currently have coronavirus cases
There are currently coronavirus cases on 26 US Navy warships, and another 14 have been hit by the virus but the crew members impacted have recovered, a senior Navy official told CNN Wednesday.
- This is the plan to get all service members tested for COVID-19
The Defense Department has set a goal to be testing 60,000 service members a day for coronavirus by June, but they won’t get there all at once. The plan is to start testing the most at-risk and most essential troops first, then work their way toward the rest of the force as testing capacity increases.
- 'Most gratifying thing I've done in the Marine Corps' — Roosevelt sailors thank Marines in video
Sailors from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt may be isolated in quarantine on Guam, but that hasn’t prevented them from expressing gratitude to the Marines and staff tasked with assisting the nearly-4,200 personnel who have been evacuated from the ship.
- The Corps has halved number of recruits shipping to boot camp and wants them to self-isolate for 14 days
(Marine Corps Times)
The Marine Corps has cut the number of recruits it is shipping to its two recruit training depots in half while asking recruits to self-isolate for 14 days before arriving at boot camp, the Corps announced in a video posted Wednesday.
- 20 empty seats: Coronavirus may slow Pentagon's push to fill vacancies
A third of the Pentagon’s jobs are missing a Senate-confirmed leader, and amid the coronavirus pandemic, there are new questions about how many of those roles can be filled before November’s presidential election.
- As COVID testing increases, military reports a jump in virus cases among troops
The Defense Department has ordered expanded coronavirus testing for select groups of service members considered the most essential to national security — and with that could come a spike in diagnoses among troops.
- Pentagon's stop movement order extension a hardship for some PCS'ing families
Most service members and families will now have to wait until July to PCS.
- Veterans organizations start canceling Memorial Day services
(The Daily Record)
Some veterans organizations are canceling their traditional Memorial Day parades and services this year due to the coronavirus while others try to carry on in a new fashion. TAPS is ensuring families of the fallen can still connect virtually to honor fallen heroes over Memorial Day weekend with an online National Military Survivor Seminar.
- Veterans Affairs coronavirus cases top 6,000 as vice president touts department progress
A day after Vice President Mike Pence said that Veterans Affairs is “not seeing cases in its facilities increase,” the department’s coronavirus count topped 6,000 after one of its largest one-day jumps in the last month.
- Veterans group accuses VA of using coronavirus patients as ‘testing subjects’
(Stars and Stripes)
A national veterans group has accused the Department of Veterans Affairs of using patients as “human testing subjects” for an anti-malaria medication that some believe could be useful against the coronavirus.
- Second lawsuit filed in West Virginia VA hospital deaths
Lawsuit is the second one filed against Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in the past month involving the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. Both suits allege a “widespread system of failures” at the hospital.
- VA medical experts expect increase in substance abuse among veterans during stay-at-home orders
The stress of the virus, a lapse in social structure and a break from routine lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- VA memo shows, despite denials, veterans' hospitals have struggled to meet PPE demands
A recent Department of Veterans Affairs memo warns that current protective medical gear supply levels "do not support providing a mask" to all staff at its hospitals and urges facility directors around the country to take steps toward conserving personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- 7,000 Newly Discharged Veterans Head Straight for Unemployment Lines
The benefits claims for newly discharged vets came to 7,068 for the week ending April 18, the Labor Department said in its latest stunning report, which showed that another 4,427,000 Americans are out of work.
- A third veteran dies at state VA nursing home in Pembroke Pines, but COVID-19 spread slows
(Stars and Stripes)
A third military veteran who was diagnosed with the coronavirus at a state VA nursing home in Pembroke Pines has died in a local hospital, according to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
- A Marine vet is building a pile of rocks in memory of those killed in the Vietnam War
(Task and Purpose)
Veteran is seeking rock donations to use as part of a monument he is building in Wisconsin to honor those who were killed in action during a battle in the Vietnam War in October 9, 1969.
- Veterans continue military tradition with first responders
(PA Home Page)
Those formerly on the front lines of wars are paying forward their thanks to those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Military Survivor News
- Tennessee family being reunited with late veteran's military quilt lost after Easter tornado
Another local family has come forward after discovering the missing quilt belonging to a deceased military veteran. The veteran’s family requested public help in finding it after a tornado ripped through the community.
Across the TAPS Family
- Team TAPS partners with Carry the Load for annual relay honoring heroes
This memorial month of May Team TAPS joins our partner Carry The Load for their 9th Annual Memorial May campaign honoring our nation’s heroes: military, veterans, first responders.
- Capital Bank, N.A., Helped Hundreds of DMV Small Businesses Secure $173 Million in PPP Loans
(Herald Mail Media)
TAPS partner, Capital Bank, helps hundreds of local small businesses secure millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans.
- USAA goes purple for Military Kids Day
USAA goes purple in support of Military Kids. President of USAA Life Company and USAA Investment Management Company, Brandon Carter, serves on the TAPS Board of Directors and USAA is a strong supporter of TAPS.
- Finding Strength and Healing in the Outdoors
At TAPS, we have witnessed over and over the healing power of connecting to the Earth and all of its wonder as part of our journeys of grief.
- Connected by Shared Experiences, Bound by Love
A group of TAPS survivors traveled to East Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Although on different journeys, they are all connected
Other Coronavirus News
- A mysterious blood-clotting complication is killing coronavirus patients
(Stars and Stripes)
The concern is so acute some doctor groups have raised the controversial possibility of giving preventive blood thinners to everyone with COVID-19 — even those well enough to endure their illness at home.
- FBI reports rise in coronavirus cyber complaints
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, including hackers who target hospitals and medical research institutions that are studying COVID-19, according to the head of the FBI’s cyber division.
- Trump plans to reopen national parks as coronavirus restrictions ease
National parks will be reopening soon after being closed for weeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.