Many Veterans, particularly older ones, receive their monthly benefits in the form of a paper check, or pre-paid debit card. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs(VA) has announced these are costly, and unreliable. As a result, they established the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP).
The Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Benefits, Dr Paul Lawrence wants more Veterans to be informed of this program. Today, in a virtual town hall meeting he stated, “There are 250,000 Veterans, and beneficiaries who receive their VA benefits through a Direct Express pre-paid card or paper check.”
Regulated by Federal law, this program is targeted at Veterans that lack access to banks and credit unions. Some of the reasons they may not have access are: legal history, lack of awareness, or individual credit history. The VA formed a partnership with the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA).
Protecting your money
Scammers frequently target Veterans. Although every Veteran is free to decide where their deposit goes, the VA wanted to create a reputable list of financial institutions. The VA states, “Veterans can select financial institutions based on their services and attributes –and how those services / attributes align with their individual banking needs.”
Meaning, the Veteran may opt to select a bank that offers free financial advice. This may open a door to allow the beneficiary to be eligible for other special offers that institution offers. If an in-person location is important, the Veteran may choose one that is regionally specific. However, these options may allow for more financial freedom, and stability.
Additionally, natural disasters, and interruptions of postal service, may cause a mailed payment to be lost or delayed. Direct deposits are the most reliable form of payment available. The VA assure veterans, “Any bank’s or credit union’s continued participation in this program will be based on their safety, reliability, and customer service.”
These banks include: USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and many more. To find out more information about the Veterans Benefits Banking Program, click here. You may also call the VA’s toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000.
Stay tuned to American Grit for more information about your benefits. Also, if you’re aware of any great programs, leave a comment below!