Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Emergency VA Education Benefit Program

Secretary Shinseki Announces Ability to Sign Up for Emergency Education
Benefit Payments on VA Web-Site this Friday

Vans to Help Veteran-Students

WASHINGTON (Sept. 30, 2009) - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki today announced further outreach to Veteran-students eligible
for a special emergency payment of their education benefits. Veterans
can now apply online beginning Oct. 2. Veteran-students can also request
courtesy transportation to VA regional benefits offices.

"Our Veterans went the extra mile for their country," Shinseki said.
"One of our top priorities in transforming VA is to be, first and
foremost, the advocate for Veterans."

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 www.va.gov <http://www.va.gov/> , 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.

"VA is adapting to meet the financial needs of our Veteran-students who
are on campus," Shinseki said. "They should be focusing on their
studies, not worrying about financial difficulties."

Students without their own transportation can also request free van
service, provided by volunteers, to carry them to the nearest benefits
office. To obtain this service, Veterans would have to call their
nearest VA medical center and ask for the "Volunteer Transportation
Coordinator." Transportation will be on a first-come, first-served,
space-available basis. Veterans can find a map and list of medical
centers at http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=1.

Whether traveling by personal vehicle or volunteer van, VA officials
suggest students check their mail boxes and banking accounts before
leaving home, since some Veterans will find their checks have already
arrived. VA would like to recognize the volunteers and Veterans Service
Organizations for partnering with the Department to ensure that
Veterans' needs are met.

The emergency checks are an advance on each student's education
benefits, and the amount will be deducted from future benefits payments.
Checks will be written at the regional offices for Veterans who bring a
photo ID and evidence of their enrollment. VA officials emphasize that
$3,000 is the maximum payment, with many Veterans receiving smaller
payments based upon their likely monthly education benefits.

A map and list of the participating VA regional benefits offices is
available on the Internet at
http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=3.

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