Even With Check in Hand, GI Benefits Elusive

A reader alerted your (substitute) Diarist that her husband's bank had placed a five-day hold on his check, out of concern about potential fraud. She was worried that other banks might do the same to other participants.

They did, according to VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts. It turns out that VA was hustling so to get checks in the right hands that officials began distributing benefits checks that had been filled out by hand. Not surprisingly, that sent up alarm bells at banks.

VA contacted banks, university officials and other program participants over the weekend to alert them. Concerned bank employees can call VA at 800-827-2166 to confirm a check's amount and whether it was previously cashed. (Those with the checks might want to write that phone number down, too, just in case there's a question at the bank.)

The department has distributed roughly $70 million in emergency checks since the payments began Friday, Roberts said. Roughly 30,000 of the 64,000 students enrolled in the Post 9/11 GI Bill are still awaiting payment. VA is authorizing payment for about 3,000 students per day.

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