Why the delay in VA ed benefits this semester?
Author: Lalaine Estella
The passage of the Forever GI Bill last summer was an important step in expanding education benefits for veterans and surviving military families.
One provision of the bill, however, has been causing distress and confusion among those receiving education benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs this semester. Section 107, which mandates that the housing allowance benefit be paid based on where the student attends a majority of classes, has not been easy for VA to implement due to technical issues with its computer systems.
Technical upgrades, which were to be completed by the August 1, 2018 deadline, have yet to be completed. While VA is working to get the needed technology upgrades, there are delays in payments and processing of GI Bill benefits. Inaccurate BAH payments are also being made; some payments may be higher or lower than expected based on the changes.
If the VA overpays you, they will let you keep the money to use toward a future payment. If you are underpaid, you will be paid retroactively. If you have not been paid, verify with your school that your enrollment was processed, and that they know funds are coming and that claims will be paid in the order they are received.
The Forever GI Bill provides survivors access to expanded educational benefits from the VA with the removal of the 15-year limit to use education benefits for surviving spouses, access to the Yellow Ribbon Program, and improvements to the Dependents' Educational Assistance Program.
The Forever GI Bill actually contained more than 30 provisions that improved benefits for survivors, veterans, reservists, Purple Heart recipients, and many others.
Many of the other provisions were easy for the VA to implement—such as removing the expiration date on form letters, and allowing those using the Fry Scholarship to tap into additional funds at private schools.
If you have specific questions, not related to delayed payments, please call the VA GI Bill Hotline at 888-GIBILL1, and if you have questions about your benefits or changes to benefits, please contact TAPS Education Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.