GI Bill users must now verify school attendance to get paid

Jim Absher is a benefits columnist for Military.com.

Almost all GI Bill users will soon have to verify their presence with the Department of Veterans Affairs before receiving monthly payments.

The new rule affects more than 550,000 students, or nearly 85% of the more than 650,000 veterans and dependents using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The good news is that it should be a fairly painless process.

Montgomery GI users have always been required to verify their school attendance each month before payment is issued. Starting in September 2021, post-9/11 GI Bill users attending technical or non-university schools received the same requirement, and the VA recently announced on its website that all post-9/11 GI Bill users 11 attending college courses that started on or after December 17, 2021, must now also verify attendance with the agency before the normal monthly payment is issued. The VA posted the change on its Facebook page on January 20.

This means that if you recently enrolled in your spring semester or winter term, you will not receive your Monthly Housing Benefit (MHA) Post-9/11 GI Bill on February 1 if you do not verify your presence with the VA, even if you have already obtained it without verification. The average MHA payout is over $1,700.

See: All GI Bill users will soon have to contact the VA each month to receive payment

Dependents using Survivor and Dependent Education Assistance (DEA) and veterans using other GI Bill programs such as Technology-Based Veteran Employment Education Courses (VET TEC), the Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP), or the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship programs are not affected by this new rule.

The VA will contact all affected students via text or email and let them know that they need to begin enrollment verification. VA indicates that students will be contacted via the phone number or email address registered with the agency.

Students who have not been contacted by the end of the month should contact the VA Education Call Center at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). Students can also update or verify their contact information online on the VA website.

See: VA Infographic on New Enrollment Verification Process.

If you fail to verify your registration for two consecutive months, your payments will be suspended. In order for your payments to be released, you will need to call the VA to verify your registration.

The VA has also created a helpful video explaining the enrollment verification process.

The VA says those who use their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for programs such as flight, correspondence, on-the-job training or apprenticeship programs are not affected by the new rule for the moment.

How to check attendance

Verification of SMS

Most GI Bill users will be able to check their school attendance via SMS.

Before the end of the month, most students in the United States will receive an SMS asking them to register for the SMS verification system. The registration text should read: “After 9/11, housing and kicker payments require monthly registration verification. Would you like to submit yours via SMS? Please answer YES or NO.”

Once a student agrees to receive text messages from the VA, they will receive a monthly text message asking them to verify that they have taken classes in the previous month. The VA will send the verification text on the last day of the month, or the last day of the term.

If a student answers in the affirmative, the monthly payment will be issued. If the student does not respond to the text message within six days, they will need to verify attendance by phone by calling the Education Call Center at 888-GIBILL-1. If the student responds that they are no longer in class, their payments will be suspended pending information from the school.

Email verification

For students who do not wish to verify by SMS, attend school outside of the United States, or are unable to verify by SMS, the VA will provide an email verification alternative.

On the last day of each month, or the last day of the quarter, the VA will send an email with the subject line: “Action Required: Check Your Monthly Enrollment”. Students must click the “YES” button, which will take them to a separate webpage that will display a confirmation message. Like the text message option, those who do not respond within 14 days will need to contact the VA by phone to verify attendance.

Remember that the VA will never ask you for your personal information, such as your social security number or bank account information, via text or email.

— Jim Absher can be contacted at [email protected]

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