Contact the VA
Applications for Benefits
Applications for VA compensation and /or pension benefits, Education benefits and Vocational Rehabilitations benefits can be submitted online. Most claims from New Zealand are handled at the Pittsburgh PA Regional Office. Pension claims are handled at the Philadelphia PA Pension Maintenance Center and Educational claims are handled by the Buffalo NY Regional Office. If you need to contact the VA to follow up on the status of a claim, you can use the VA Facilities Locator.
Information Related to Service Connected Medical Expenses
Direct Deposit of VA Benefits
VA beneficiaries are eligible to have their benefit directly deposited into a nominated New Zealand bank account. To enroll in this service, beneficiaries are required to complete the Direct Deposit Enrollment Form (PDF 747 KB) and follow the guidelines for returning it to VA. Please attention envelopes to the “Special Consular Services” section.
Reporting Non-Receipt of a Monthly Benefits
Occasionally, there may be delays in the mail system which prevents beneficiaries from receiving their benefits in a timely manner each month. The VA will not issue replacements for lost or missing checks until the last week of the month.
VA benefit checks not received by the end of the month should be reported directly to the VA at +1-800-827-1000 or you can email them directly. You may also contact the VA Benefits Counselors office in Pittsburgh PA which have access to the main VA computer database and can initiate the check replacement process. They can be reached at +1-412-395-6272 between the hours of 8:30am-4:00pm (US EST). When calling or writing, please provide the following information to the VA:
- Name of the beneficiary (veteran, widow, child of veteran, parent of veteran);
- VA claim number or Social Security number of the veteran and the payee number if known;
- Date of the check that is missing;
- Type of benefit (pension, compensation, education, etc.) if known; Current address of claimant; and
- Any other pertinent information.
If an address was changed since the previous check was issued, the VA will input the new address in their main computer systems. The Department of Treasury’s payments systems needs to reconcile with the VA’s systems. Once this is done, the Dept of Treasury will reissue the check to the correct address. A change of address must be processed by the 15th of the month to be effective on the next check. If not, please ensure that the postal service has a forwarded address for your mail. Replacement checks can take several weeks to a month to be issued. If the replacement check is returned, benefits may be suspended immediately.
If you are unable to contact VA directly, you may contact American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the U.S. Consulate Auckland and we will contact the VA on your behalf. Please note that the ACS unit has no influence or control over how quickly replacement checks are issued and sent.
Death of a VA Beneficiary
To report the death of a beneficiary in receipt of a VA pension, please contact the U.S. Consulate in Auckland. When calling, please have available the beneficiary’s full name, date of birth, Social Security Number, VA File Number (if known) and date of death. Please also have available the beneficiary’s “Next of Kin” details; name, contact telephone number and address.
Upon receipt of this information, the U.S. Consulate General will inform the VA of the passing. Depending on the veteran’s military service, the next of kin may be entitled to benefits. Information regarding this should be discussed when reporting the death of the beneficiary.