Over the last few weeks, AMVETS has heard grumblings in Washington that the VA may be unable to deliver September's living stipend on time to thousands of veterans seeking Post-9/11 G.I. Bill (Chapter 33) benefits.
AMVETS National Legislative Director Ray Kelley has asked for specifics on potential issues from the VA several times, only to have his inquiries fall on deaf ears.
However, according to the most recent data, more than 200,000 claims for Chapter 33 remain unprocessed. VA, which hired hundreds of new claims processors to handle the influx, only has a few short days remaining to file the additional claims and issue checks.
Earlier this month, Keith Wilson, VA's primary representative handling Chapter 33, placed the blame on many of the colleges and universities, saying that they failed to file veterans' paperwork in a timely manner, leading to a flood of claims to be processed in August.
College representatives refute this claim, saying that the VA's self-imposed start date of July 7 to accept paperwork was far to late to adequately process all of the new benefits claims.
Regardless of where the disconnect occured, the delay in payment could leave many of the 200,000 veterans without their first month's living stipend.
When the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill was signed into law, the nation made a promise to veterans that they would not incur any outlandish costs pursuing higher education. The living stipend--based on the military's basic allowance for housing for an E-5 with dependents--was designed to cover the costs of rent, food and other expenses so that veterans could focus on their studies.
Now, will veterans need to hastily apply for loans to cover these costs in the interim? What happens when veterans cannot make the rent for the month of September?
American Veteran will continue to follow this story closely. Check back regularly, as we approach Sept. 1 for updates. In the meantime, let us know what you think.