Paycheck Chronicles

VA Acknowledges Delays in GI Bill Payments

Road construction sign telling motorists to expect delays

Amid growing reports of veterans not getting their GI Bill payments for the fall semester, the VA has sent veterans notifications that it is experiencing processing delays.

VA Sends Email To Veterans

In an email to affected veterans, and in a post on their website the VA says:

Many of our Post-9/11 GI Bill students are experiencing longer than typical wait times to receive monthly housing payments. Today, we are averaging a little over 35 days to work first-time applications and 23 days for re-enrollments.

Although processing times in the fall are longer than other seasons, wait times this year are longer than usual. Knowing this may have caused you a financial hardship, please let us know by contacting us via the GI Bill submit a question.

As Our Education Call Center is also experiencing higher than normal wait times, you can avoid waiting on the phone for a payment status by calling 1-888-442-4551 and choosing Option 2 for an automated response. You can also check your eBenefits or vets.gov account for payment status. Once your payment is processed by VA, it will take a few more days to reach your banking institution.

We regret that these delays are occurring and the impact they may have on you and your family. We’re working to make sure you are paid as soon as possible and will continue to update you with any new information we have. You may also want to follow us on our Facebook page for updates at https://www.facebook.com/gibillEducation/.

The email was signed by Maj. Gen. USAF, Ret. Robert M Worley II, the Director of VA's Education Service, which handles all GI Bill matters.

Unusual Backlog Of GI Bill Claims

Currently, VA is showing over 228,000 pending education claims, while this time last year they showed a backlog of 135,000 claims.

While delays in GI Bill payments at the beginning of a term, especially the fall term, are nothing new; the lack of communication from the VA on the delay has been frustrating to many veterans. 

Changes to the GI Bill housing allowance computation mandated by the new "Forever GI Bill" may be contributing to the delay.

Some veteran's organizations estimate that more than 300,000 veterans are being underpaid their Monthly Housing Allowance as a result of VA's inability to implement changes to the law.

Mandatory Overtime For VA Workers

To solve the problem, VA says that all GI Bill processors at their three Regional Processing Offices will begin mandatory overtime through November 30, 2018. Each employee will be required to work a minimum of 20 hours of overtime per month. 

No Word On When Backlog Will Be Cleared

While the VA's notification did acknowledge the delay, it offered no timeline as to when it would be cleared up and all backlogged payments would be issued. My guess would be that the majority of payments will be issued by early to mid-November, judging on past experiences.

Besides paying a monthly housing allowance and $1,000 annual book stipend directly to veterans, the Post-9/11 GI Bill also pays tuition directly to the school.

Most schools are aware of the delay, and have dealt with the government long enough to know that sometimes things get delayed. Most will suspend any tuition payments and not charge any late fees. If you do have problems you should speak directly with the VA certifying official at your school. 

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