Will Schools Go Easy on Vets?

That's an explosive question because under the post-9/11 GI bill, the department sends tuition payments directly to schools. If payment is not received, the school has two options, wait for the payment or throw the vets out.

Since no school wants the horrible publicity that would result from kicking vets off campus, it leaves them little choice but to, in essence, extend large loans to VA.

The one publicly available statistic on how well VA is managing the flood of GI bill claims is the Monday Morning Workload Reports from the Veterans Benefits Administration, which shows that as of Sept. 12, VA had 274,378 "education work items pending."

That's down a bit more than 2 percent from last week's 276,704, but quadruple the 68,629 education items pending last year, before the post-9/11 GI bill was enacted.

VA tells me that about 20 percent to 25 percent of those pending education items are not GI bill claims, but nonclaim inquiries, which still leaves VA with about 220,000 claims to process by the end of September.

Data on another VA Web site showed that the average time to process an original GI bill claim is 56 days, and VA's GI bill hotline (1-888-442-4551) warns vets not to bother calling for six weeks after they submitted their claim to check on its status.

That will become a huge problem in October when vets expect to start receiving their allowance from VA for housing and books, which in Washington runs about $1,900 a month. The full text of the message does not offer much hope for veterans counting on getting that living allowance next month. It says:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is receiving an unprecedented number of education claims. As a result, it is temporarily taking longer than usual to process claims.
We ask for your patience as we work quickly to issue payments. Please allow six weeks after your paperwork was submitted before checking the status of your claim. Thank you for your understanding.

I guess landlords expecting rent checks - like schools awaiting tuition payments - will just have to be understanding, too.

Join AFGE Today


Shutdown Lawsuit

Diversity Week

I Serve Veterans

Behind the Scenes

AFGE Events

Event Calendar is for Members Only. Please Log In to see our calendar of events.


SUBSCRIBE Latest news & info