A major snafu has hit benefit payments to student veterans under the GI Bill—and congressional aides tells NBC that they have been told the veterans are never going to be paid back. The aides say they were told by the Department of Veterans Affairs that the VA will not be making retroactive payments to veterans who were underpaid for their housing allowance because it would mean reviewing around 2 millions claims, further delaying implementation of a new system, which has already been pushed back to Dec. 2019. Under the Forever GI Bill signed into law by President Trump last year, students are supposed to be paid housing allowance based on where they take the most classes, not on where the school's main campus is located.
Tanya Ang, vice president of Veterans Education Success, tells the Military Times that the VA's excuse of retroactive payments creating too much work isn't good enough. "That could be hundreds of dollars for some students—per month," she says. "If this was a disability benefit, this would never fly." The issue, which is the result of new legislation being introduced before the VA's outdated computer system could handle it, has contributed to a backlog of claims that has forced some veterans facing financial hardship to abandon their studies, the Tennessean reports. The agency is still working to process more than 58,000 claims, reports the Star Tribune. The paper's editorial board calls the delays a "national disgrace." "Those courageous enough to go into battle should face zero delays in getting the education benefits they’ve earned," they write. (Read more GI Bill stories.)