Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 30, 2018 – A software problem at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has caused thousands of student veterans to receive incorrect or delayed housing allowances for the new school year and other benefits they are eligible for via the Forever GI Bill.
Former service members attending school using the GI Bill were scheduled to receive their second housing stipend for the semester on October 1. Some veterans did not receive payments at all, while others were paid too much or far less money than what they are owed. The VA is up to two months late on payments in some cases.
“Veterans expect to receive their living stipends and education benefits on time and in the correct amount,” said Florida veterans lawyer David W. Magann. “The VA needs to work urgently to address the problem as delays or missing payments can create significant financial difficulties for students. It appears the agency has left veterans in the dark about the status of their payments and what is being done to improve the situation.”
The VA admitted that it is struggling to process veterans’ education benefits on time due to technical difficulties related to changes in the law. The agency said in September that more than 340,000 veterans would be affected by the IT issues and receive incorrect payments.
New standards for calculating housing payments under the Forever GI Bill were supposed to be implemented on August 1. However, VA spokesperson Terrence Hayes said “severe critical errors” occurred during software testing, which led to the incorrect payments.
As a result, the agency decided to delay the launch of the IT system. Students are now being paid under 2017 rates which disregard the 1 percent increase in veterans’ housing allowances to account for 2018 cost-of-living increases. The VA said it plans to reimburse the difference they are owed in the future.
The VA’s Office of Information Technology and Veterans Benefits Administration expect the problem to be fixed by year end. However, many veterans have complained about a lack of information regarding the timeline.
The VA has enlisted 202 temporary employees to help process the pending claims and is requiring staff to work overtime. VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said the agency is now processing around 16,000 claims a day.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
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