On December 16, 2020, Congress passed the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.  (You can read the full text of the Bill here:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7105/text).  The legislative package, which lawmakers described as an end-of-year omnibus bill for veterans, is over 340 pages long and includes numerous provisions for female veterans, Native American veterans, homeless veterans, student veterans, veterans experiencing the effects of toxic exposures and those affected by the coronavirus.

A major provision of the bill designates COVID-19 as a presumptive illness, which ensures compensation and benefits for Veterans who have contracted COVID-19.  Eligibility requirements state that an individual must have served on active duty for more than 48 hours at one time and developed the illness during service or within 14 days after the qualifying period of duty.  The benefit would apply to active-duty service members and Reserve members, as well as National Guardsmen on training duty under Title 10,  activated Guard members serving on or after March 13, or those working full time during the national emergency as declared by the president.