Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shinseki, I forgive you for the Beret: VA to issue Emergency Checks to Veteran Students

Many of you know I've had a love-hate sort of feeling towards now-VA Secretary Shinseki, dating back almost ten years. For those of you who were in the military around then, you will instantly understand why: Shinseki, for all of his other sterling qualities, gave us the beret. Hot in summer, cold in winter, it had absolutely no redeeming qualities besides doing away with the garrison cap.

However, there's been a lot of faith there, given his courageous stand against Bush on other issues.

That faith has now been justified to such an extent that I think it has more than made up for any petty grievances I might have had over horrible uniform items. (And really, with the ACU so much a better and more convenient target, it was about time)

General Shinseki (Okay, okay, Secretary Shinseki) has ordered the VA to release emergency checks to veteran students who are having rough financial times staying in college with the late Post 9/11 GI Bill payments. This is incredibly amazing, especially given the stories of people like Suspect who have been dropping out of school because of the problems with the GI bill. I am really, really glad that the VA is listening to the veterans it serves, and also applaud the veteran's organizations (not just IVAW but IAVA and VoteVets and AWV and SWAN and the American Legion and the VFW and any I'm forgetting) for staying on top of them and reminding them of the real costs of the delays.

However no amount of voices will avail anything if people aren't listening, and I don't want to take any of the credit away from the VA for actually doing so. First listening to the veteran bloggers and organizations at Thursday's roundtable and now this: I have to say I'm sporting a big warm fuzzy for the VA at the moment.

The VA also understands that not everyone can get to a VARO (VA Regional Office) quickly, which is why they're sending representatives to schools with large veterans populations, so that they can get the help desperately needed where it is needed the most. Veterans, help is on the way. Starting Oct 2. Stick it out until then, and you'll be able to make it. Things are going to be okay.

Now, for how you can actually get this:

Show up Friday, Oct 2, at your nearest VA regional office
a photo ID
a course schedule

Personally, I'd take along a DD214 as well, but that's just me. The only two things the VA are requiring are the above.

1 comment:

Jonn Lilyea said...

It's still BS. For example, I went to SUNY Oswego - the nearest Regional Office is in Buffalo - a four hour drive one way. That's an entire day wasted to get what's owed me (if i were a veteran/student).

Now, the VA says they'll visit local college VA offices to arrange for transportation to the regional office. Why can't they visit the local colleges and issue checks?

They don't need bureaucrats to schedule buses (will will probably be late and break down anyway) they need their money. This is a needlessly complicated, but amazingly typical, bureaucrat solution.