ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Veterans asking for assistance with paying bills, mortgages or even getting groceries during the pandemic now have more options.

“I’m at my wits end,” says veteran Kenneth Williams. He lost his job when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Williams says he’ s now experiencing his worst financial hardship ever.

“I’ve never been this broke in my life. I can’t even go see my kids,” says the veteran.

Williams applied for unemployment months ago, but has yet to her back about his benefits. With his bills piling up he decided he had to take a loan out against his car; unable to pay the title loan his car was repossessed.

Now Williams has just a few days left before the car is auctioned off. But, sadly Williams isn’t alone. Thousands of veteran are in similar positions.

“A report came out from Robert W. Woodruff Foundation saying that the biggest group that is going to be impacted is our veterans with jobs because they don’t have long-term savings," says Jim Lindenmayer with the Cherokee Homeless Veterans Program. He adds that, "A lot of these guys are just coming fresh out of the service. They have low-paying jobs, and those jobs are the ones that are being impacted the quickest,” adds Lindenmayer. 

As a result, the VA announced it is suspending collections and extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts. The federal government has also eased restrictions to provide financial aid to those in need. The government has also added additional program funding through the CARES Act.

“We do know that additional funding in the way of millions of dollars has been made on its way to the Atlanta area through companies like Hope Atlanta," says Lindenmayer. "Typically when a veteran is behind we have to get letters of the information that they’re delinquent, and what’s happening is all those restrictions are being eased. Someone that used to take us a couple weeks to get information on now all we need is a simple letter."

As for Williams, he’s been connected with the program and is waiting for help. 

To find out more about VA debt relief programs, click here. To find out if you or a veteran you know qualifies for financial assistance, click here

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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