An article earlier this week in the Army Times reports that veterans trying to pay for school with the post-9/11 GI Bill are still experiencing major delays. I first alerted you to the problem with GI Bill benefit delays back in September, when some 250,000 veterans were facing late payments as a result of backlogs in the system. At the time, the Department of Defense was reporting that it was upgrading its computer system and would have the kinks worked out by early 2010.
Here we are, however, at the start of the new year and 26,000 students are still waiting for their benefits from last semester. The VA’s own records show that 48,000 claims are still being processed, which may include some for the spring semester. What will happen in the spring is anyone’s best guess, although law makers are already concerned: “With a second semester only weeks away, I believe the situation remains unacceptable,” Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz, said in a letter to VA, as reported by the Army Times.
The confusion and uncertainty about when checks will arrive, coupled with the need to meet immediate expenses, is adding stress to veterans at a time when many are already struggling with [post-traumatic stress disorder].
The House Veterans Affairs Committee is considering changes to the GI Bill to simply calculations and make it easier for veterans to get their claims processed. According to the Army Times, these changes wouldn’t be in effect until — at the soonest — next fall.
For more on the Montgomery GI Bill and other army benefits, be sure to check out FAF’s Guide to Education Benefits for Veterans & Active Duty Members of the Military.
Are you planning to utilize your GI Benefits to pay for college this year or in the future? What has been your experience so far in getting benefits paid out in a timely fashion? Talk to me!