Tips on getting VA education payments promptly

WASHINGTON—Here are some ways to get your VA education payments promptly:

_ The VA allows schools to submit education claims and certify a student's enrollment as much as 120 days prior to the start of classes. Enrolling and filing early increases the chances of getting your check on time.

_ Make sure your school certifies your enrollment to the VA for a full academic year, not just one semester. Many community colleges wrongly think they're only allowed to certify students one semester at a time, said Jack McCoy, director of the VA education service. "That's 100 percent a misperception on their part," he said. Certifying a student twice in a year contributes to backlogs at the VA and can slow your checks.

_ Sign up for direct deposit of your benefits checks to get your money within a week of VA approval. Receiving paper checks can add a week or more to the process.

For more information about VA education benefits, contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551 or online at