This morning, VA's 57 regional offices across the country started distributing checks to student-veterans experiencing G.I. Bill payment delays. AMVETS National Service officers were on hand at regional offices monitoring the situation and AMVETS National Headquarters has received updates throughout the morning.
Most regional offices have reported that veterans arrived early to receive their checks. In Atlanta, AMVETS National Service Officer Bobby Rand reported that the office opened its doors at 7:30 and as of noon veterans did not have to wait in line. Atlanta-area veterans told Rand that the VA employees handling the check process were professional, efficient and courteous.
AMVETS State Service Officer Richard Kenton at the Oakland VA Regional Office reported that 30 to 40 veterans were on hand as soon as the doors opened and Northern California veterans also seemed very happy with the process.
Photos and positive reports have also come in from VA Regional Office in Phoenix, where AMVETS National Service Officers Paul Zanger and Dale Tiberg are on hand speaking with veterans.
By 5 p.m., VA had processed more than 8,500 checks at VA Regional Offices and accepted more than 7,500 online applications. VA reported its heaviest volume in Washington, Chicago, and Waco, Texas.
"Based on what we've seen today, we're cautiously optimistic that the operation will continue running smoothly," said Brandon Friedman, VA Director of New Media. "It's taking a lot of patience on everyone's part, but we're determined to get these checks out to the people who need them. We know how this backlog has upended people's lives, so we're doing what we can to make it right."
Friedman went on to say that some regional offices had seen long lines and minor delays, but lines were moving and veterans were leaving with their emergency payments in-hand.
This morning, VA also announced that VA Regional Offices will be open tomorrow at 8 a.m. to continue processing emergency check payments for veterans who could not make the trip on Friday.
As reports come in from around the country, American Veteran Online will keep posting on the response from the veterans' community. If you have an emergency payment story that you would like to share, please let us know on the blog.
(Photos: Top: Veterans line up at the VA Regional Office in Phoenix to receive their emergency G.I. Bill payments. Photo by AMVETS National Service Officer Dale Tiberg. Bottom: Veterans wait outside of the VA Regional Office in Winston-Salem, N.C. early this morning to collect emergency checks. Photo by AMVETS National Service Officer Bobby Rand.)