Beneficiaries receiving paper checks for VA disability payments, travel reimbursements, caregiver support, or other benefits must enroll in direct deposit by Oct. 1, the VA announced, citing a Department of the Treasury rule change affecting federal payment processes.
The VA has been phasing out paper checks for decades, with initial federal legislation on the topic taking effect in the mid-90s and the department moving to a primarily digital disbursement system in 2013. However, those still receiving paper checks may continue to do so if they meet one of three waiver requirements:
- The recipient has a mental impairment which would make electronic payments a hardship.
- The recipient lives in a remote location which cannot support electronic fund transactions.
- The recipient was born on or before May 1, 1921.
To obtain a waiver and continue receiving paper checks, beneficiaries must fill out this waiver form and submit it to the Department of the Treasury. Only Treasury, not the VA, can issue a waiver.
Beneficiaries can sign up for electronic fund transfer (EFT) to receive their payments at this link. Caregivers receiving payments via the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) can register as a vendor to receive EFT payments; instructions are available at this link. Caregivers with further questions about the process can reach out to a Caregiver Support Program Team at their closest VA medical center.
Beneficiaries also can call the VA at (800) 827-1000 to set up a direct deposit.
The Veterans Benefits Banking Program can help VA beneficiaries establish a bank account and update their direct deposit preferences. Learn more about the program at this link. The program launched in 2019 and helped 200,000 veterans establish direct deposits by November 2022, according to a VA press release; per the VA website, about 160,000 VA beneficiaries still received payments either by paper check or pre-paid debit card as of May 2022.
While the VA may send correspondence to beneficiaries making them aware of the payment policy change by postal mail, email, or text, VA staffers will not call to ask for personal or banking information. Veterans who receive such calls likely are targets of financial fraud and should contact the VA at 800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) to report the scam attempt.
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