Bridging the Digital Divide

VA is helping Veterans get the internet access and technology they need for telehealth care.
15 percent of Veteran households do not have an internet connection. Source: Federal Communication Commision, 2019

Get Connected

For Veterans who don’t have internet service or an internet-connected device in their home or community, accessing telehealth can be difficult. VA is working to bridge this digital divide to ensure that all Veterans can access VA care where they are.

If you or a Veteran you know could benefit from VA telehealth, here are some of the ways that VA can help you get connected.

Digital Divide Consult

If you would benefit from video telehealth services but don’t have internet access or a video-capable device, your VA care team can help through the Digital Divide Consult.

With the Digital Divide Consult, your VA provider can refer you to a VA social worker. The social worker can determine whether you are eligible for programs that can help you get the internet service or technology needed for VA telehealth.

For more information about the Digital Divide Consult, talk with your VA provider.

VA Internet-Connected Devices

If you don’t have a device with internet access, VA can lend you an internet-connected tablet so you can reach your VA care team through telehealth. The Digital Divide Consult can help determine if you are eligible.

If you participate in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing Program and don’t have a smartphone, you can receive one for telehealth care.

For more information, talk with your VA provider about the Digital Divide Consult.

Mobile Connectivity Support for Telehealth

AT&T, SafeLink by TracFone, T-Mobile, and Verizon help Veteran subscribers avoid data charges when using VA Video Connect on their networks. This enables Veterans to access their VA care teams through telehealth with fewer worries about data fees.

Visit the VA Mobile website to learn more about the mobile carrier programs and VA Video Connect.

Telehealth Sites in Your Community

Through ATLAS (Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations), VA is bringing telehealth care into Veterans’ communities. ATLAS sites are comfortable, private spaces for Veterans to have video appointments with their VA providers. VA has teamed up with public and private organizations, including The American Legion, Philips North America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Walmart to create ATLAS sites in select areas of the country.

To see if there is an ATLAS site near you, visit the ATLAS webpage.

Internet and Phone Service Discounts

The FCC’s Lifeline program subsidizes the cost of home broadband and phone services. Many Veterans are eligible for Lifeline benefits, including Veterans with low incomes and citizens of federally recognized tribal lands.

Veterans who participate in the following federal programs are also eligible:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Tribal programs
  • VA pension
  • VA Survivors Pension

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program expands broadband discounts and eligibility as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the full list of eligibility requirements, visit the EBB website.

The Lifeline and EBB programs are included as part of the Digital Divide Consult.

See if you qualify for both Lifeline and the EBB programs by calling 800-234-9473, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Eastern, or by visiting the Lifeline website.

 

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