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GI Bill Direct Deposit Rule Changes

Approximately 800 thousand veterans use GI Bill military education benefits, and many of those students are directly affected by a major change to how VA benefits are paid. In the spring of 2024, the agency is taking steps to protect veterans and streamline the VA payments system.

Those steps end a past VA practice allowing benefits payments to multiple bank accounts per recipient.

Changes To VA Direct Deposit Rules

The Department of Veterans Affairs official site has updated instructions on using Direct Deposit, because April 2024 is when the rules for using it change.

“Check your direct deposit information in your VA.gov profile. If you currently have more than one bank account listed for disability compensation, pension, and education benefit payments, you’ll need to update your information” to simplify your payment options for VA benefits including the GI Bill.

What does your update require?

VA.gov says, “You must have the same account listed for all benefits,” meaning you cannot have one VA benefit directed to a separate account. This is a move designed to protect GI Bill users and other VA beneficiaries from fraud.

According to the updated guidelines published at VA.gov, you must have a single account designated for all VA benefits payments no later than April 20, 2024.

VA Notifications to Affected GI Bill Students

The VA scheduled an outreach effort to catch “stragglers” to these updates. Those who do not update their bank information by April 20, 2024, can expect weekly reminders from the VA to switch to a single payment account for all VA benefits.

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide

What Happens to Those Who Don’t Make the Change?

VA officials stress that you will not lose access to your VA benefit payments if you don’t switch. However, you should expect the VA to start making all payments to the account you get most of your VA benefits.

That means if you get benefits payments in multiple accounts, the Department of Veterans Affairs will arbitrarily choose the account most used by the VA to send ALL your payments to and your other accounts will stop receiving them.

VA Guidelines For Direct Deposit

The VA requires beneficiaries to receive VA benefits through paper checks or Direct Deposit. Setting up these payments requires a VA.gov account and logging in to add or change your payment information.

Those who still get benefits via paper checks sent through the U.S. mail typically get their payments slower than those with Direct Deposit.

You can set up Direct Deposit for VA benefits in person at a VA facility, online at VA.gov, or by telephone at 800-827-1000 (TTY: 711) and internationally at 918-781-7550.

These lines are staffed during regular business hours only. There are also VA options for those who do not have a bank account to deposit benefits into.

What’s Next?

The new GI Bill payment guidelines take effect on April 20, 2024. Some 50 thousand GI Bill users may be affected.

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide

About the author


Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.