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VA officials explain delays in veteran stimulus money payments

(Credit: Spenser Heaps, KSL, file)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – Where’s my check?  That’s what many veterans across Utah are asking as they still haven’t received their federal stimulus money.  State officials say many vets might not be registered properly to get it, and the clock is ticking.

In the past few weeks, the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs has hosted virtual town hall meetings to speak with vets about the problems they’re facing.  One of the most commonly asked questions was, “When will I get my money?”

Department officials say veterans who don’t claim any dependents on their tax return aren’t required to do anything.  They should be expecting their money within the next two to three weeks.  However, those with dependents who haven’t filed a tax return in the past couple of years have very specific instructions they need to follow.

“You must register with the IRS and by this coming Tuesday, May 5th,” according to Executive Director Gary Harter.  He says the payment would include $500 per child.

Department data shows the economic shutdown has had a terrible impact on veterans.  Harter says they surveyed over 2,700 of them and a large amount of them have been hit hard.  For example, roughly 75 percent of reservists aren’t able to train.  Another large portion isn’t able to work.

“Eleven percent said they need financial assistance to pay some of their current bills,” Harter says.  “Among working veterans, almost 40 percent have said that they’ve lost hours, have been laid off, or been furloughed due to this crisis.”

This shutdown is having ripple effects that hurt more than just a vet’s wallet.

“Thirty percent of veterans that responded to our survey also said this has had a negative impact on their mental well-being,” he says.

Anyone going through economic or mental hardship is being asked to call the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.  Harter says they can provide some financial assistance and mental health care.