VA News & Updates
GI Bill Housing AllowancesPosted: May 20, 2013
What is the monthly housing allowance?
It's a monthly benefit paid via direct deposit to students while attending school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and is equal to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) of an E-5 with dependents. It is based on the zip code of the school (a chart of BAH rates by ZIP code is at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/bah.html). Active duty members and spouses of active duty members using transferred entitlement cannot receive the benefit, but Veterans, their spouses and dependents can receive the benefit.
When does VA send payments?
Payments are issued at the beginning of each month for training that occurred during the previous month. For example, assuming timely certification of enrollment by the school and timely processing by VA, payments for training taken in January will be issued by VA in February. The school must submit a student's enrollment information to VA in order to start the payments.
Why is my payment less than expected?
The most common reason for a smaller than expected BAH payment is due to the payment being pro-rated based on the number of days in the month that a student is enrolled.
Payments are made in arrears and only for the days actually attended, so if the term starts in the middle of January, the payment received in the beginning of February will be pro-rated accordingly. The first full payment will be issued in March for the month of February.
For example, suppose you are attending school full-time and your housing rate is $800 per month. The term starts on January 19th and goes until May 14th. All months are based on 30 day periods, so months that have more or less days do not impact the benefit amount. Therefore, the payment in this case for the month of January will be for 12 out of 30 days (19th to 30th), in the amount of $320, and it will be received in February. The payments for February, March, and April will be $800 each month, and the payment for May will be $373.33 (pro-rated from the 1st through the 14th).
Also, a student must attend more than half-time to receive the housing allowance payment. Benefits for attendance at less than full-time are pro-rated to the nearest multiple of ten. For example, if 12 credits are required for full-time attendance and the student is taking 8 credits, the student will receive 70 percent of the housing allowance (8 divided by 12 equals .66, which is rounded up to 70 percent).
Lastly, lower than expected payments may also be caused by over-payments. Over-payments are usually caused by students reducing the number of credit hours for which they are enrolled during the middle of a term, which can cause payments to be made based on the incorrect number of credit hours. When this occurs, the amount of the over-payment is deducted out of future benefit payments until the account is corrected.
TS Reinstated, Open for DetailsPosted: March 25, 2013
Halt in Tuition Assistance Posted: March 11, 2013
It appears that sequestration has "hit" military tuition assistance benefits. Earlier last week, the USMC moved to halt tuition assistance for NEW enrollees in response to the sequestration. On Thursday March 7th, the Army followed by announcing they also would suspend all tuition assistance enrollments. Please read Army suspends tuition assistance program for more details.
Federal Benefit checks going all electronicPosted: March 5, 2013
U.S. Treasury Requires Electronic Federal Benefit Payments:
By March 1, 2013, everyone getting federal benefits by paper check will need to switch to electronic payments - direct deposit to a bank or credit union account or to the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card. Learn how to switch at GoDirect.gov. U.S. Deparrtment of the Treasury: Treasury Payments
Advantages of Direct Deposit
- On time: Checks sent through the mail take time to reach you. Foul weather, misrouted mail and other events can make your wait even longer. If your check becomes lost or stolen, that time increases as you wait for a replacement check and your bills go unpaid. Direct deposit eliminates the wait. Your money is in your bank account on pay day.
- More secure: Your mailed check goes through a lot of hands before it reaches you. From printing to transport to your mail box, the more stops it makes the more opportunities there are for it to get lost or stolen. Even when you visit your bank to deposit it, your check can be handled by up to nine people before it is processed. Eliminate the risk and take control of your money. Direct deposit is a sure and easy way to do this.
- More convenient: No need to drive to the bank to deposit your check means less gas and time. You'll have more time to enjoy the things you really like to do. And if you cash your check at a grocery or retail store, or if you use a check cashing service, direct deposit saves on fees you might otherwise pay.
- Easy: Don't have a bank account? Find a bank or credit union in your area that is reputable and provides the services you need at little or no cost. And make sure they offer FDIC coverage of your account and accept direct deposit. It's the best way you can take control of your finances and protect yourself at the same time.
* This also applies to T/F payments to schools under chapter 33, the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.
The Veterans Crisis LinePosted: March 5, 2013
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential, toll-free hotline and online chat.
Veterans and their families and friends can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, Veterans Chat (online chat), or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Veterans Crisis Line
Learn more about the Veterans Crisis Line and what VA is doing to help Veterans who face serious challenges or may be at risk of suicide.