Legislative hearing held on how COVID-19 is affecting veterans

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The focus for the New York State Legislature’s last virtual hearing this week on the impacts of COVID-19 was on veterans.

“This virus and the collateral damage that it is causing is affecting many veterans in many ways, but not all veterans equally,” said J. Michael Haynie, Syracuse University’s Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation.

But one big issue is unemployment.

“The veteran unemployment rate in New York State in July was nearly 15 percent. That’s twice the national average of veteran unemployment across the Untied States,” Haynie said.

Advocates say the need for technology is critical for both online doctor visits, and jobs. 

“Many veteran job-seekers lack computers and internet access… to complete those online applications and do virtual interviews,” said Laura Stradley, Veterans Outreach Center Executive Director.

Isolation is another concern.

“We’re seeing it permeate into the whole veterans service safety net; it’s making everything a bit more challenging. The whole thing of quarantining, working remotely, has really put a lot of agencies and service providers in a whole new spotlight to try to figure out how to deliver these services,” said Ashton Stewart, SAGEVets Program Manager.  

Advocates also say some veterans are seeing mailing delays for their medications. They also noted for veterans in nursing homes how difficult it’s been for many of them to still not be able to have visitors. 

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