Have you had trouble playing Grand Theft Auto Online? Join the (social) club.
Despite a predictably shambolic launch, Rockstar has at least been stepping up its efforts to get the online side of the game into a playable, reliable state, and is seemingly genuinely sorry about all the issues players have encountered to date. So sorry, in fact, that they're going to give each and every person who has played Grand Theft Auto Online at least once in October 2013 $500,000.
That's $500,000 of in-game currency, sadly, not real money, but that's still about ten bucks' worth of spending money if you were to purchase the same amount via the currently disabled microtransactions.
In order to keep the in-game economy balanced, Rockstar will be providing the half-million to players in two separate deposits of $250,000. The exact dates this will happen have not yet been confirmed, presumably because Rockstar wants to ensure everyone will be able to keep the characters who receive the money. The current estimated date for the first deposit is the end of next week, with the second coming "by the end of the month."
In order to be eligible for the cash award, you must have played Grand Theft Auto Online at least once in October 2013, and you must install the upcoming 1.04 title update, expected next week. Besides enabling the payout functionality, Rockstar also believes the new update will fix any remaining issues players have been having with purchased vehicles disappearing in the single-player Story mode. So long as you install the update as soon as possible, you shouldn't have to do anything else; check your in-game bank account in the Online mode regularly once it's live, and you should soon be half a million dollars richer.
Until the 1.04 update is live, Rockstar reminds players of two things: when leaving a GTA Online session, be sure to quit back out to single-player in order to save your progress, and if you receive a "Rockstar Cloud Servers are unavailable" message, do not choose the "Retry" option, and do not create a temporary character in a slot from which you appear to have lost progress -- instead, exit out to single-player and try again to connect.
You can stay up to date with the status of Grand Theft Auto Online with this Rockstar support article.