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Eye Opener: Help Getting Emergency VA Payments

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! Thousands of student veterans who have not yet received tuition, housing and book payments under the Post-9/11 GI Bill may apply online for emergency aid beginning Friday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday.

"The agency announced last week that students struggling to pay their bills could receive a maximum $3,000 advance on earned educational benefits, but said that veterans could claim the aid only by going in person to one of 57 regional offices," reports The Post's Emma Brown.

Congress approved the Post 9/11 GI Bill last year and the program began in August. The department spent several months promoting the new program and thousands of veterans applied for benefits. But most veterans across the country have yet to receive any payments as the department struggles to process the requests.

In Michigan, one student at Northern Michigan University would have to travel 15 hours round trip to get his benefits, Brown reports.

In California, veterans attending Santa Rosa Junior College would have to travel about 70 miles, or 90 minutes, to get their money.

In Minnesota, Steven Chock, 20, a first-year student at Normandale Community College in Bloomington should have already received $1,000 to pay for his books, and more than a month's worth of living expenses, Minnesota Public Radio reports. Instead he's held off paying rent, electric, cable, phone and food bills.

Students may apply online at Applicants will receive checks in the mail. But will those emergency checks arrive in time? Stay tuned.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: Hillary Clinton serves as president for a day (at the U.N.). Border task force recommends more Customs officers to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Austan Goolsbee wins "funniest DC celebrity" contest.

Time to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ DOD Official Writes: An article in an official military journal argues forcefully this month for repealing the law that requires homosexuals in the services to keep their sexual orientation secret.

New DOT Rules Would Restrict Texting By Truckers, Bus Drivers: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will unveil the rules Thursday, the final day of a two-day summit on the issue.

National Aviation Safety Reform Effort Stalls: A number of aviation safety proposals have been filed in Congress this year in response to the Feb. 12 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 outside Buffalo.

Hardening Views Brandished in Fight Over Consumer Agency: Nearly everyone involved in the current debate agrees that protecting consumers from unfair and predatory practices is essential and that the agencies responsible for that role failed during the current financial crisis. But when it comes to how to fix the problem, Wednesday's House hearing offered a seminar on just how messy that process will be.

Government Makes First Foray Into Buying Toxic Assets: It totaled around $4.5 billion, with a quarter of the money coming from private investors.

VA Continues Work on Energy Efficiency: The department ranks sixth in energy use and third in water consumption governmentwide as a result of the types of buildings it oversees.

EPA Moves to Curtail Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The agency announced a proposed rule Wednesday to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions from thousands of power plants and large industrial facilities.

Patent Office Weighs Ways To Cut Growing Backlog: The modifications, which must be approved by agency employees in the coming weeks, would be the first major change to the agency's "count system" since 1976.

Discrimination Complaints Up Slightly: Complaints from the federal workforce alleging discrimination by the government increased slightly in the latest figures from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ending a recent downward trend.

Agencies Reduce Energy Use 12.4 Percent in 2008: This according to the initial findings of the Energy Department's Federal Energy Management Program.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | October 1, 2009; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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last week associated press released an article about these checks that were to be given out to the veterans who are attending school.the head of the veterans administration said in the ARTICLE"THE VETERANS SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT THEIR STUDIES INSTEAD OF THE MONEY" where does this man get off saying something like this to the veterans who earned this small pittance from the post 9/11 bill.this guy(shenseki) should be made to apologize to every veteran who put on a uniform and especially these veterans who served in iraq and afghanistan.every veteran and his friends and family should write their congressmen and senators and have this cold hearted man fired.

Posted by: SISSD1 | October 1, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Won't it be great when the Government is responsible for dispersing our health benefits?

Posted by: fallsmeadjc | October 1, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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