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GI Bill and other VA education benefit payments FAQs

Get answers to questions you may have about your GI Bill payments.

How education payments work

When will I get my first GI Bill payment?

If you signed up for direct deposit when you applied for education benefits, we’ll deposit your payment into your bank account 7 to 10 business days after you verify your school enrollment. This is the fastest way to receive your payment.

If you asked for a waiver so you could receive your payments by check, you should receive your first check by mail about 14 days after you verify your school enrollment. 

What should I do if I didn’t get my GI Bill payment?

Please let us know if your payment is late. You can call us toll-free at 888-442-4551 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

If you get your payment by check and it’s been at least 3 weeks since we issued the check, you can request a replacement. It could take up to 6 weeks to get a replacement.

Why is my monthly GI Bill payment less than my monthly rate?

Your monthly GI Bill payment may be less than your monthly rate for one of these reasons:

  • You attended classes for only part of the month. Classes often begin and end somewhere in the middle of a month, instead of on the first and last day of a month. So we’ll base your payment only on the part of the month you attend classes. For example, if your monthly rate is $800, and your classes start on August 19, we’ll pay you $320 for August 19 to 31.

    Note: Your monthly rate is based on a 30-day period. The rate for a month that has 31 days (like October) is the same as the rate for a month with 30 days (like September). 
  • We overpaid you at some point in the past. If we discover an overpayment, we’ll need to pay you less for one or more payments. 
  • You reduced your enrollment hours during the term. If you stopped taking some of your classes—or reduced your training time—after you received your award letter, we’ll need to adjust the benefit payment amount.

Check the current payment rates

Covering your housing costs in between terms

Will I get monthly housing allowance (MHA) during school breaks?

No. In 2011, Congress passed a law that prohibits VA from paying MHA during school breaks. This includes breaks between semesters, quarters, and terms. Be sure to plan ahead to cover your housing costs when school isn’t in session.

If your enrollment starts after the first of the month or ends before the last day of the month, we’ll pay you a prorated housing payment for the part of the month you’re enrolled in classes.

Note: If you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, we may be able to help. Call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 for help 24/7. You’ll talk privately with a trained VA counselor for free.

Advance payment

Can I get a GI Bill payment in advance?

This depends on which GI Bill program you’re using. 

If you’re using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you can’t get an advance payment.

If you’re using a GI Bill program other than the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you may be able to get an advance payment. You’ll need to meet all of the requirements listed below. 

You must:

  • Have an advance payment request on file at your school, and
  • Be attending school at least half time, and
  • Have a break of at least 30 days before the start of the term

Note: We must receive your enrollment certification at least 30 days before classes start.

How do I request an advance GI Bill payment?

First, find out if your school will receive an advance payment for you. Check with the office that oversees Veteran benefits at your school. This is usually the registrar’s or financial aid office. If they agree to receive an advance payment, they’ll give you a request form to fill out. They’ll keep this on file at the school.

If you’re eligible, we’ll send the advance payment to your school. You’ll need to go to the registrar’s or financial aid office to pick up the check. The payment will include the first partial month and the first full month of your enrollment.

Example: If your enrollment starts on August 25, the advance payment will cover August 25 through September 30. Since GI Bill benefits are paid at the end of the month, you’ll get your next payment for October 1 to 31 in early November. 

Note: If you receive an advance payment, and then you stop taking some or all of your classes, you could end up owing us money.

VA benefits

  • Education and training

    Apply for and manage your GI Bill and other education benefits to help pay for college and training programs.

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