More Delays Possible in GI Bill Payments

Up to 14,000 students may not receive living stipends Nov. 1 as the Veterans Affairs Department continues to dig out of a backlog of claims for the Post-9/11 GI Bill — but there will be no more emergency payments for those who don’t get paid on time.VA officials said

Tuesday they have about 14,000 enrollment certifications pending final approval for tuition, book allowance and living stipends. The certifications are the final step for an eligible veteran enrolled in school to receive benefits.“It is possible, if we have not worked their case by the end of the month, that some may not receive their housing payment on the first,” VA officials said in a statement, referring to Nov. 1.Payments not made Nov. 1 will be made to the student as soon as final approval is given so they do not have to wait until Dec. 1 to receive a living stipend, VA officials said.

Emergency $3,000 payments went out to more than 50,000 students who were not paid their living stipends Oct. 1, but no more such payments are planned. “Only a one-time advance payment is available this semester,” the VA statement says.

Student-veterans eligible for the living stipend who never applied for the emergency payment can still apply if they want to. Any money they receive will be deducted from future living stipends.

Patrick Campbell of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said it appears VA’s worst problems in processing education benefits claims for the fall semester are over, although he remains concerned about how the $3,000 emergency payments are deducted from payments — some veterans may have received more advance money than they will receive in monthly living allowances if their campus is considered a low-cost area.

Veterans groups also are watching how VA processes claims to get some idea if another round of delayed payments might come for the spring semester, Campbell said.

NAVY TIMES

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