Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Check please!

Those students who were about to drive 400 miles to their VA regional office, heed this press release:

Last week Shinseki announced that on Friday, Oct. 2, VA’s 57 regional benefits offices will begin providing on-the-spot emergency payments up to $3,000 to students who have applied for their education benefits but who have not yet received a government payment.

Citing the distance many Veterans would have to travel to apply in person at a VA benefits office, Shinseki announced Veterans can also apply online at, starting Oct. 2. The online application will guide Veterans through the process to supply needed information. Shinseki noted that online applicants will receive their emergency payments through the mail after processing.

That clears up question #1 from yesterday. No word on question #2.

The press release also describes a free van service that departs from your local VA medical facility. So if you drive or take the van, make triple sure you have proof of enrollment (acceptable documentation are vague, so bring your class schedule, enrollment certification letter from the VA and lucky rabbit's foot). Personally I would not want to take the van. In the inevitable event of someone leaving empty handed, waiting around for everyone else to collect would be pretty frustrating. Plus I do not know what is involved in a VA van ride. I imagine filling out three forms, waiting in a line and scheduling an appointment to take a piss at a rest stop.

For the cynics, the online registration seems like the safest bet. You don't have to go anywhere and it'll take up to three business days to process. Then it's up to the guiding hand of the US Postal Service. If you register on Friday, you will likely get your check by the end of next week barring any difficulties.

I acknowledge that we should never have gotten to the point of emergency checks, but this could be the best solution considering the circumstances. I hope it goes off without a hitch. After the tensions in DC cool, I hope the VA takes a hard look at its program implementation staff and protocol. That they reacted to the crisis with a reasonable solution is commendable. That they had to react in the first place is disconcerting at best. Friend of the blog Ryan dropped out of his first semester, and there is no telling how many took out high interest loans just to stay afloat when funds from the VA should have been the least of their worries.


Joe said...

Now we're talking.

Anonymous said...

its funny because the ones who got a paper check today have either not been able to cash the check, the banks wont honor the letter and cash the check to allow the funds to be allowed into the accounts....I dont know what will happen to those who will get the checks in the mail...Although some did get it cashed at the ACE check cashing places...