Due to Veterans Service Officers being required to prepare, present and prosecute claims as per the timelines set within the CFR 38, the offices will not fully close unless otherwise mandated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. While the offices will suspend all in-person services, we will continue to serve the current clients of the Monroe County Veterans Affairs Department. Our offices will accept documents through encrypted PDFs via email, fax, or hard copy via mail; in addition, we are implementing a drop box at the Key West and Key Largo offices Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to noon. Staff will work either remotely or in the office to fulfill our obligatory responsibilities to the Veteran clients in our community. The Marathon Satellite office hours are suspended. The Veterans Transportation Program which transports Veterans and Social Services clients to and from medical appointments in Miami-Dade is not operating to protect the health and safety of our passengers and staff.
Clients in need of information, email addresses or other contact information can visit monroecounty-fl.gov/va and call Key West at 305-295-5150 or Key Largo at 305-453-8777.
VA facilities in Florida are following a phased distribution plan in accordance with CDC and VHA guidelines. During this initial phase of limited supply, our facilities are offering vaccinations to the following categories of Veterans receiving care at VA and will contact them directly to schedule an appointment:
- VA Outpatients aged 75 and older
- VA Homeless Veterans, Hemodialysis patients, Solid Organ Transplant patients or patients who are listed for transplant, and Chemotherapy patients (any age)
- VA Community Living Center Residents
- VA Spinal Cord Injury Diseases (SCID) Unit Residents
- Congregate Living Residents
As additional vaccine becomes available for more groups of Veterans, VA care teams will reach out to eligible Veterans to schedule vaccinations. There is no need to preregister or come to a facility to sign up, although Veterans are encouraged to let their Primary Care Provider know so that they can make a note in the patient’s chart and follow up when the vaccine is available to them. Visit VA's COVID-19 vaccine website for more information at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/.
In summary, Veterans who wish to receive more information or register their interest in receiving a vaccine when it is available have two options:
1. They can speak with their care teams who will note their interest
2. They can visit the VA web page at www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/ and sign up to be contacted.
The Veterans Affairs Department has eight employees between its Key Largo and Key West offices providing services to approximately 8,000 full-time veterans, 2,500 seasonal veterans, military personnel, survivors, dependents, and family members in the Florida Keys. Department staff receives training per the Code of Federal Regulations Title 38, Florida Statute 292.11, and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.
Each year the Veterans Affairs Department has more than 18,000 client interactions while providing a wide variety of services.
- Service-related disabilities
- Non-service connected pensions
- Burial benefits
- Survivor’s benefits
- Educational and vocational rehabilitation benefits
- VA home loan eligibility assistance
- Appeals of any denied benefit
- Military service medal, decoration, and award issuance or replacement
- Military service records or document requisitions
- VA Healthcare application assistance
- Operate the courtesy Veterans Transportation Program
- Documentation assistance in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs for:
- Disabled veterans license tags
- Property tax exemptions
- Educational benefits
- Commissary Privileges
The department also provides assistance in obtaining state benefits, such as free car tags and fishing licenses, for those who are 100-percent service-connected.
- VA Approved Urgent Care Centers
- Florida Dept. of Veterans Affairs Florida Veterans Benefit Guide
- Veterans Healthcare: VA Mission Act
- Hurricane Preparedness Guide for Veterans and Families, Spanish
COVID-19: Miami VA Healthcare System
Any veteran who shows symptoms should call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 for triage and instruction prior to coming to the medical center or clinics.
These are the impacts to Veteran clients in Monroe based on COVID-19 Update from the Miami VA Healthcare System:
Impacts for veterans in Monroe County traveling via privately owned vehicles to appointments at Miami/Monroe VA locations:
- A singular point of entry assigned for all facilities and enhanced screening is being performed upon entry at all facilities
- Visitors need to plan extra time for screening
- Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center: change to parking and drop off
- Visitors need to plan for extra travel time
Impacts for veterans in Monroe County who travel to the Miami VA - Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center via Monroe County Veterans Affairs Veterans Transportation Program (VTP):
- Drop off will still be at the same location, but veteran clients will have to enter through the West Entrance
A reminder of current COVID precautions in place at the Miami VA Healthcare System:
- Universal Masking is in effect – all personnel on Miami VA grounds at any location must wear an appropriate mask.
- Physical Distancing is required in all waiting areas, public areas, and workspaces.
- Enhanced Screening methods are in place at all entrances to Miami VA facilities.
- Virtual care is encouraged whenever clinically appropriate.
Access and Quality in VA Healthcare
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Access and Quality in VA Healthcare website answers questions like "how quickly can my VA facility see me," "how do service compare in your area," and "how can I find providers near me?"
Satellite Office Opens in Marathon
Closed due to COVID-19 for the time being
Monroe County Veterans Affairs incorporated new and enhanced satellite services in the Middle Keys for veteran clients. The office will provide all services supported by the department for all Middle Keys veteran clients every third Friday at the Marathon library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (1000-1400). Walk-ins are welcome or to schedule an appointment, call 305-295-5150 or 305-453-8777. If demand warrants, additional days will be added. In addition, Monroe County Veterans Affairs has always and will continue to work with veterans countywide, including field visits to those who cannot make it into the offices.
The mission of the Veterans Affairs Department is to enhance the quality of life for veterans, survivors, dependents, and family members by assisting them in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits and entitlements from federal, state, and local levels of government while advocating for veteran’s interests in the community.
Code of Client Concern
The Monroe County Veterans Affairs Department (MCVAD) is committed to providing the highest quality service to its clients. In order to achieve this goal, the dedication of each employee to the principles outlined in this code is essential. With a comprehensive knowledge of existing Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) laws and regulations, and the willingness of all MCVAD personnel to assist our clients, we will be able to provide the kind of service to which we are committed. To that end:
- Each client must be afforded dignity as an individual and be treated with compassion and respect.
- Clients will be counseled fully and informed of any DVA program or benefit that may be available to them or their families.
- All employees shall in no way interfere with or prevent the filing of a claim, as all persons have the “right” to file, valid or not.
- All employees will protect every claimant as to “effective date” of the claim, wherever possible. This includes advising the claimant of any inadequacies which may cause a delayed effective date.
- All employees will keep confidential all records and communications pertaining to the client’s case.