Due to the backlog of Post 9/11 GI Bill applications, many veterans, reserve, and active duty have thus far been unable to receive the financial aid they need for this fall semester. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has responded to this by posting how many financial benefits are being distributed on a continual basis–the last update, October 8, 2009, with 2,651 Post 9/11 GI Bill applications processed and 3,461 other government financial aid programs processed. This adds up to a total of over 30,000 processed Post 9/11 GI Bill applications, if combined with the V.A.’s October 5th breaking news.
This does not even begin to squelch the staggering 75,000 applicants for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which raises up the question: what about the other 45,000+ military students? The answer was emergency funds, which would grant each of these individuals $3,000 in temporary financial aid benefits that would later be deducted from the total financial aid received by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Combine this with several understanding colleges that are not dropping students because of overdue tuition bills, and you have a sustainable amount of money to hopefully cover textbooks and living expenses until all Post 9/11 GI Bill applications are taken care of. Housing funds is a whole other monster to conquer entirely.
The problem with the emergency funds lies in the failing economy; several banks are refusing to immediately cash the emergency Post 9/11 GI Bill funds. This isn’t because of any veteran hatred on the banks’ part, but on the new policies founded by a struggling economy. Government funds for school or personal paycheck, no bank is willing to tender out three thousand dollars that fast these days.
But many of these veterans, reserve, and active duty are falling apart because of how long they’ve been told to wait; how much they need these funds.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has requested all American banks to understand this dilemma with the following October 5th breaking news, “VA Seeking Assistance of Nation’s Banks in Cashing Emergency Education Payments for Veteran-Students”:
The Department of Veterans Affairs is issuing advance educational benefit payments to Veteran-students in the form of US Bank business checks. These emergency checks are issued in amounts not to exceed $3,000 for Veteran-students who have applied for educational benefits and who have not yet received their VA payment. VA’s 57 regional offices began issuing these checks to eligible Veteran-students across the country on Friday, October 2, 2009.
VA is soliciting the support of local and national banks to honor and cash these emergency checks written to our Nation’s Veteran-students.
In many cases these checks are handwritten and could pose concerns of fraud from banks. Therefore, VA has established the following special customer service call-in number for banks to verify the validity of any US Bank check brought to them by a Veteran.
Banks calling this number will be connected directly to a VA employee who can access all necessary information to verify who the check was issued to, the check number and dollar amount of the check, and whether the check was previously cashed or not.
“This is an extraordinary action we’re taking,” said Shinseki. “But it’s necessary because we recognize the hardships some of our Veterans face.”
More than 27,500 students have already received benefits for housing or books under the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, or their schools received their tuition payments.
Whether on the broad scope of MSN News or the individual scope of a personal blog, people everywhere are discussing the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It’s been a topic for months and is hardly something that should have reared itself as suddenly and abruptly as a natural catastrophe; yet the earthquake of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is massive, and the struggles and fallbacks are not over. Here’s hoping that the emergency funds smoothen out and the Post 9/11 GI Bill is delivered in full for the Fall 2009 semester, even if in an untimely manner.