CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Himes Announces Online Sign Up for VA Emergency Education Benefit Payments

October 1, 2009
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) announced that Connecticut’s student veterans eligible for a special emergency payment of their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits can apply online beginning today. Student veterans can also request courtesy transportation to VA regional benefits offices if they prefer to apply in person.

“Our veterans have made great sacrifices to protect our country, and it is essential that they have access to the quality, affordable education they need to rejoin the workforce and earn a good living when they return home,” said Congressman Himes. “This is one more step towards ensuring that veterans are able to take full advantage of the training and education benefits they’ve earned.”

Last week, the VA announced that today, Friday, Oct. 2, its 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. Veterans can now also apply online for their emergency benefits at www.va.gov. The online application will guide veterans through the process to supply needed information. The online applicants will receive their emergency payments through the mail after processing.

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 should 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. Connecticut Veterans can reach the Hartford VA office at 1-800-827-1000.

The VA officials suggest students check their mail boxes and banking accounts before leaving home, since some veterans will find their checks have already arrived.

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. A $3,000 payment is the maximum in emergency education benefits, with many veterans receiving smaller payments based upon their likely monthly education benefits.