Estimating that approximately 175,000 veterans need help obtaining bank accounts, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP). The goal is to ensure veterans receive their full benefit payments without disruption, via direct deposits.
Safe and Secure: Direct Benefit Payments
The VA has organized over 30 banks and credit unions across the country to provide “military friendly” financial services to veterans and their families. Concern that vulnerable and transient veterans may be losing out on benefit payments because they do not have bank accounts led to the creation of the VBBP.
Charles Tapp II, Chief Financial Officer of the Veterans Benefits Administration shared highlights of the new initiative with AARP:
Direct deposit or electronic funds transfer (EFT) is a safer option because it allows payments to come through routinely without disruption, even if there’s a natural disaster. It also prevents checks from being delayed in the mail or stolen before it’s cashed. We see the program as a safety mechanism to make sure that our beneficiaries receive their full benefits as they use a traditional bank account or credit union, instead of relying on check cashing services, which charge exorbitant fees.
The institutions that agreed to participate in the program have agreed to work with veterans who may have a low credit score, legal issues, or homelessness. However, each bank or credit union has its own unique and specific criteria.
We believe it’s safe from the perspective of getting your payments on time, every time. We believe it is safer because if there’s any instances of fraud, the banks are federally insured to protect the consumer.
Benefits Management Support
If you worry that age, injury or illness is preventing a veteran you love from properly managing their overall benefits, note that the VA can appoint a fiduciary to receive and manage the benefits on behalf of the veteran and dependents. A VA Fiduciary can be a spouse, relative, friend, or other qualified caregivers, who undergoes the VA background screening process prior to appointment.
When appointing a fiduciary to receive and manage benefits on behalf of a veteran, the VA generally requires a VA Fiduciary Bond. This is for the protection of the veteran and beneficiaries. It’s easy to obtain a VA Fiduciary Bond, online, at Colonial Surety Company. The steps are simple: get a quote online, enter your information and provide a payment method. Print or e-file your bond from anywhere.
Getting Started: Veterans Benefits Banking Program
According to AARP:
The participating banks and credit unions have committed to working with veterans and beneficiaries to provide financial literacy, insights and information. In addition to helping you get set up with your bank account, they are also there to help with other financial tools and resources….
At the Veterans Benefits Banking Program website, you can find the list of participating financial institutions. From there, learn more by choosing a bank or credit union, following the links and reviewing the specific details and sign up information provided by each. Veterans or beneficiaries can also call the VA ( 800-827-1000) for more information.
Colonial Surety Company is a leading national provider of VA Fiduciary Bonds. Licensed all across the USA, Colonial makes it quick and efficient to obtain a wide portfolio of surety and fidelity bonds. Our services are direct and digital. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, and U.S. Treasury listed.