The TAPS Daily - April 9, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily. Your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces relevant to the military family community during the COVID-19 response.
- TAPS COVID-19 Response
Find resources, services, and support provided 24/7 by TAPS to surviving military families navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
- TAPS COVID-19 Government and Partner Resource Update
Learn more about access to and impacts on your government benefits during COVID-19.
- Responding to the COVID-19: TAPS Extends Virtual Services for Families Grieving Deaths of a Military Loved One
To provide ongoing support during this national emergency to survivors grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military, TAPS is extending its online capabilities, adding more opportunities for survivors to connect and receive support as needed.
- TAPS launches special TAPS Talks series in response to COVID-19 social distancing measures
In response to the need to reduce sense of isolation the new TAPS Talks series bring comfort and connections to those feeling the stressful impacts of social distancing.
- USAA to return $520 million to members
USAA, a TAPS National Sponsor, will return $520 million the insurance company has saved this year as a result of people driving less during COVID-19 pandemic. Every USAA member with an auto insurance policy in effect as of March 31, 2020 will receive a 20% credit on two months of premiums in the coming weeks.
TAPS In the News
- Seeking the Military Suicide Solution Podcast, Episode 13: Kim Ruocco from Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
This podcast from MilitaryTimes examines the alarming rate of military and veterans’ suicide, offering new insights based on research and effective clinical and peer support practices in suicide prevention.
- Now, civilians are experiencing the same kind of crisis stress that is well known to military veterans
Sudden, huge changes in life are a norm in the military. Now, many Americans are experiencing stress similar to what veterans and their families have felt for years.
- Nonprofit group honors officer killed last month
Point 27 awards engraved tags to members of the military, veterans and law enforcement officers, including high volume gifts in partnership with Concerns of Police Survivors, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and the Gary Sinise Foundation.
COVID-19 Key Updates
- Current novel COVID-19 cases in US
Total cases: 427,460
Total deaths: 14,696
- UK's Johnson out of intensive care as his condition improves
(Stars and Stripes)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition has improved and he has been moved out of intensive care where he was treated for three days with COVID-19, his office said Thursday.
- USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor is in intensive care after testing positive for coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt was in intensive care Thursday after suffering complications from a coronavirus infection, the Navy said. Almost the entire 4,800-member crew of the Roosevelt has been tested, with 3,170 sailors testing negative and 416 sailors testing positive.
- The U.S.N.S. Comfort Is Now Taking Covid-19 Patients. Here’s What to Expect
(New York Times)
The Navy ship’s mission in New York now comes with a new level of complexity, raising questions about whether it’s equipped for the task.
- How to Protect Yourself & Others
Latest guidance from the CDC on protecting yourself and stopping the spread of the new coronavirus.
- Running Essential Errands
CDC advice about how to meet basic household needs in a safe and healthy manner during coronavirus outbreak.
- Use Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow Spread
CDC recommendations for use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Force Health Protection Guidance - Supplement 7
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Matthew Donovan, recently released Supplement 7 to the Force Health Protection Guidance. Supplement 7 provides guidance on cloth face coverings and updates the guidance on personal protection equipment and non-pharmaceutical interventions.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Possible Military Pharmacy Changes Due to COVID-19
Do you use a military pharmacy? If so, there may be temporary limitations that result in a decrease in service or closure at your pharmacy due to COVID-19. TAPS is working to mitigate additional burden of pharmacy co-pays on survivors, military families and retirees, and is working with Congress to temporarily waive them during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Congress Ensuring VA Education Benefits
Last week, the Congress passed legislation to ensure students continue to receive VA education benefits, even though universities have gone online. Students should see no impact on their benefits for spring, summer and fall 2020 terms. If your BAH was lower than normal or another error occurred in your VA education benefits, please contact TAPS Education Services at email@example.com.
- Suspension of VA Debt Collections
VA announces anyone with a debt through the Department of Veterans Affairs may request collections and payments to be suspended for the duration of COVID-19 outbreak. Requests can be made by contacting VA Debt Management at 800-827-0648. There will be no penalty or interest imposed during this time.
- Federal Tax Deadline Extended; Some State Extensions
Deadlines to file and pay federal income taxes have been extended to July 15, 2020. Although many states have extended their filing and payment dates to mirror the federal government, not all have followed suit. Find out your state tax filing date information.
- Coronavirus Pandemic Postpones Veterans’ Final Military Ceremony
COVID-19 is changing all aspects of life — including the rituals we associate with death. All funerals have been upended, but veterans have now lost one particularly important ceremony: burial with military honors.
- Pentagon Extends ID Card Expiration Dates, Allows Mail Order for Some
Military dependent and retiree ID cards set to expire this year will get an automatic extension through September, while some other ID card updates and enrollments are now permitted by fax or mail,according to new Pentagon guidance.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Learning to Accept – and Embrace – Uncertainty
Maggie Bainbridge has always loved having a plan for everything. But then, her husband died. Having strong Faith has helped her through uncertain times.
- I Buried My Grandfather on Zoom: Coronavirus & Livestreamed Funerals
The coronavirus hasn’t just changed our lives. It’s disrupted death — and the rituals that are fundamental to burial for religious families.
- Making it count: Saying goodbye from a distance
How COVID-19 has ripped apart traditional ways of saying goodbye to a loved one, mourning and grieving processes, with advice for families and care providers.
- This Easter weekend, many will find cemeteries closed for visits
(Los Angeles Daily News)
Families who want to pay respects at a loved one’s grave may have found it increasingly difficult to do so, as cemeteries around the region have changed their rules to help limit the coronavirus’ spread.
- From Caregiver to Survivor: Finding New Purpose and Honoring Husband's Legacy
Coleen Bowman lost her husband to a rare illness related to toxic exposure. After he passed she wanted to honor him by helping other survivors. In 2019 alone, TAPS welcomed over 2,000 survivors whose military loved ones died following an illness.
- Coronavirus cause for concern among burn pit veterans
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the country, especially among those with chronic respiratory problems and compromised immune systems. These include 9/11 first responders and veterans who were exposed to the toxic plumes that emanated from burn pits. Both groups constitute large parts of a population living with a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
- TAPS Applauds Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Calls on the Department of Defense to Activate the National Guard Under Title 32
Guard and Reservists in All States and Territories Deserve Federal Benefits During Unprecedented Crisis.
- Troops fighting COVID-19 will get Tricare and BAH boost after Trump extends Guard Title 32 orders by one day
Reacting to concerns that National Guard troops fighting COVID-19 under Title 32 orders were being denied Tricare and increased housing benefits, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order that ensures those troops receive Tricare medical coverage and increased Basic Allowance for Housing payments.
- Pentagon says 'Stop Loss' order is unlikely — but is an option if needed
Pentagon officials say they hope to avoid any “stop-loss” orders that would involuntarily keep service members in uniform beyond their current contracts. But that may be necessary if the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit the Defense Department’s ability to recruit and train new troops.
- US Military Can Do More to Help with Coronavirus, House Armed Services Chief Says
The House Armed Services Committee Chairman says the Pentagon needs to “get creative” in its response.
- Military’s Plan to Cut 18,000 Medical Billets Is on Hold During Pandemic
Fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic has put on hold a controversial plan to cut medical billets in the Military Health System and transfer retirees to outside providers, according to the Defense Health Agency.
Military Survivor News
- Love Never Dies
Anna Steg's fiancé was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2019, 6 months before their wedding date. Her support system has helped her through this time.
- Survivors Fill Community Need for Face Masks
How one TAPS family deals with COVID-19 by giving back and sewing face masks for their community.
- Seven VA health care workers dead from coronavirus as cases mount
Seven Veterans Affairs health care staffers have already died from coronavirus complications and more than 1,100 more forced into quarantine in recent weeks, adding further stress to the already taxed medical system.
- New Jersey's three veterans’ homes have 58 residents with coronavirus, 14 deaths
(Stars and Stripes)
New Jersey’s veterans memorial homes have also been “severely impacted” by the still-growing coronavirus outbreak, the state’s top health official said Wednesday.
- These States Are Giving Cash to Veterans Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, some U.S. states are taking action to help out veterans who are being hurt by the outbreak's economic impact.
- District Warriors, veterans’ hockey team, grieve loss of Shannon Jackson
District Warriors, a nonprofit hockey organization dedicated to veterans who have disabilities, are mourning the loss of one of their own after co-founder death by suicide last weekend.
- Seven VA health care workers dead from coronavirus as cases mount
Across the TAPS Family
- Battelle advising government's COVID-19 strategy
Battelle, a TAPS Legacy Sponsor, is playing a critical role in advising the government's COVID-19 strategy and has developed a system to decontaminate PPEs to allow for multiple uses.
- Afghanistan to the U.S. – A military mother coping with COVID-19
(Open to Hope.com)
TAPS Advisory Board Member, Dr. Heidi Horsey, shares her thoughts on her son’s deployment and her own recent diagnosis with COVID-19.
- Love Lives On Music Album Title Track Released
New album “Love Lives On” partners surviving military families with music royalty to produce beautiful tribute in its debut single.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.