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Why Is It Taking So Long to Get My First Post 9/11 GI Bill Payment?

Q: I was certified as of the 23rd of Aug 2010. We are now going into our fourth week of school for this semester and nothing (no money) from the VA yet. When I spoke to the VA rep at my school, she said I should see something within 3 weeks, my tuition can’t be covered until that money arrives, I paid for books out of my own pocket, which meant taking money I had budgeted for car insurance, three weeks later… Why is it taking so long?

A: During the fall term, the VA is overwhelmed with applications from new students just now starting school, in addition to all the returning students, so things slow down during this term. It normally takes the VA about 3 to 4 weeks to process an application, but it might be taking longer this term until they get caught up.

I understand your frustration, however, as I tell anyone who will listen, if you are a student starting school, you should have at least one semester’s worth of funds available that you can use to pay bills until you start getting your GI Bill payments.

Then, when you do start getting paid, you can use that money to replenish your funds. I’ve seen too many students with the false hope that the money from the VA will be there when they need it and they end up in financial trouble right from the start.

Even after you start getting paid from the VA, your checks will always be a month behind when your bills are due, so you need at least a month’s worth of money at all time to tide you over.

I’m sorry I didn’t have better news, but this is the reason for your delay. After you get your first check, then the ones after should come about the same time each month.

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