VA Assures Sen. Murkowski that Emergency GI Bill Checks Will Be Available to Alaska Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Veterans Administration has assured U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that Alaska veterans who have applied to receive enhanced educational benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill but haven’t received their checks will be able to obtain up to $3,000 in emergency financial assistance from the VA if they need it.

The VA plans to issue checks on the spot to eligible veterans beginning Friday, October 2, at the Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office, 2925 DeBarr Road, in Anchorage. The office is expected to open at 7:00 AM and will remain open until 6:00 PM on Friday. The office will also open on Saturday, October 3, from 8:00 AM until Noon to process emergency financial assistance checks. Veterans should bring a government issued photo identification and proof of enrollment in an educational program.

The VA does not plan to issue “on the spot” checks in Fairbanks, Juneau or other Alaska communities. Veterans attending school outside Anchorage who need emergency financial assistance checks should apply online at the VA’s website, www.va.gov beginning October 2. Any eligible veteran, including those in the Anchorage area, can request an emergency check using the online application. Murkowski has been informed that these checks will begin to be mailed during the week of October 5.

The emergency payment will be deducted from whatever educational benefits the veteran is entitled to receive.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki ordered his agency to offer the emergency payments following reports of delays in processing applications for benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill which took effect in August 2009. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides enhanced tuition assistance, as well as a generous allowance for housing and books. Many veterans who served on active duty for 90 days or more since September 10, 2001, are eligible to receive these benefits.

Murkowski co-sponsored the Post 9/11 Educational Assistance Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush on June 30, 2008.

“When Congress was considering the Post 9/11 GI Bill, we were warned that the VA might encounter difficulty implementing the program on the ambitious timeframe Congress was demanding,” Murkowski said. “I’m pleased that Secretary Shinseki has stepped outside the box to expeditiously issue emergency payments to veterans in need now that the semester is well underway. I hope that the process runs smoothly.”

Murkowski encouraged Alaska veterans who are encountering difficulties in obtaining their earned veterans benefits to contact one of her state offices for assistance. The Senator’s offices are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, Ketchikan and Wasilla. Assistance is also available by telephone by calling the Senator’s toll-free number, 877-829-6030.

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