What you need know about VA benefits in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma


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VA’s VAntage Point blog has the latest information on hurricane impact to VA facilities and services. For those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, click here. For information on Hurricane Irma, click here

For additional information on disaster assistance available to Veterans, download the VA Disaster Assistance brochure (PDF file)

Benefit Payments

VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration has mechanisms to help Veterans receive their benefit payments if their normal mail cannot be delivered:

  • Veterans can sign up for direct deposit on eBenefits.
  • Veterans can call 1-800-827-1000 to sign up for direct deposit.
  • The Direct Express Cardless Benefit Access program is offering beneficiaries who use Direct Express and reside in the affected area the option to obtain cash without their card, up to $1,000.
    • The service is being offered free of charge; however, due to system limitations, a fee will be charged and then refunded to the beneficiary. The beneficiary will be asked to go to a MoneyGram store to retrieve the funds.  If the beneficiary is unable to locate a MoneyGram store in operation in his/her area, the funds will be placed back on the Direct Express card.
    • MoneyGram agents will require ID before releasing funds.  They will accept a passport, driver’s license, military identification card, social security card and/or state identification card.  The beneficiary must also have a MoneyGram reference number (provided by the Direct Express Call Center).
    • Contact the Direct Express Call Center toll-free number, 1-888-741-1115, and offer to transfer the caller.  Callers must choose the “Direct Express Cardless Benefit Access” option on the IVR.

General Information

VA has guidance in place for Veteran borrowers who are participating in the VA home loan program and have experienced a natural disaster. Click here to download a PDF with information.

Vocational Rehab:  Veterans participating in VR&E services programs may be eligible for up to two additional months of the Employment Adjustment Allowance, if they are displaced from their home as a result of a natural or other disaster.  Veterans should contact their assigned VR&E counselor for eligibility questions/criteria at their local regional office.  Nearest facilities can be found here: https://www.vets.gov/facilities/.

GI Bill:  VA will consider school attendance as continuous and payments will not be affected. Read more on VBA’s Facebook page.

Automobile Adaptive Allowance:  VA may provide or assist in providing eligible Veterans with a second automobile or other conveyance when:

    • The first vehicle purchased with VA financial assistance is destroyed as a result of natural or other disaster;
    • The destruction was not the Veteran’s fault, and
    • The Veteran does not receive compensation for the loss from a property insurer.
    • VA will make the payments to the seller, as the law prohibits VA from making payments for automobile/conveyance grants directly to Veterans.  There isn’t a web page specific to natural disasters and this benefit.  There is, however, general information on automobile allowance here.

Veterans Crisis Line:  If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran experiencing mental distress, the Veterans Crisis Line provides 24/7 top-tier mental health support at 1-800-273-8255, press 1.  (1-888-628-9454 Español).  Veterans also have to option to chat online with a crisis counselor via web at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net.

 

For the latest on VA’s response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, read more here on VAntage Point.

Author

Megan Moloney

-- Megan joined VA in May 2013. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Marsena Kupfer    

    This is good stuff. Love ❤️ you VA

  2. Pete Perez    

    Price Gouging: Will the V.A.help a Disabled 72 year Old Veteran like me,when my house Insurance Company increased my deductible from $1,900 to almost 4 times that amount as a Deductible??The Insurance Company claims that “they have the right to do that if the damage to my House is due to a Hurricane and/or a Tropical Storm.” Can I do anything about it,since they refuse to fix the damage to the Roof of my House??*??

  3. Pete Perez    

    Please read my Comment above this rectangle.

  4. Pete    

    Attention All Veterans affected by either Irma or Harvey: Whether you are an owner, renter, or border, or even homeless: Be sure to contact FEMA to see if you are eligible for housing/living assistance.

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