The VA is in arrears on their payments to veteran-students going to college on their new GI Bill. In an effort to rectify the havoc in the lives of the veteran-students this delinquency has caused, the VA hired additional personnel and is working overtime in an attempt to process the thousands of backlogged claims that still exist.
According to the VA, the amount of unprocessed claims numbered in the tens of thousands at their peak; approximately 5,000 still remain outstanding. The VA fully admits their outdated system could not handle the 260,000 claims they received.
The VA believes the colleges will wait for the money they are owed from the new GI bill and veteran-students will not be denied admission because their last semester bill has not yet been paid. The VA’s top priority is allowing the veteran-students to focus on school rather than their tuition being paid. As of August 1, veteran-students were given very good benefits through the new GI Bill and more veterans than anticipated sought to take advantage of them.
The new GI Bill was intended to be the most inclusive set of benefits for veteran students since World War II. A veteran qualifying for the maximum benefits would receive enough aid to cover the cost of tuition at the highest ranking public college or university in the state for 4 years. Additionally, veteran-students receive $1,000 annually for books and housing allowance.
The issue the VA has encountered with processing these claims, and what has been slowing them down, is the intricacy of the formula that must be used to decide what each veteran will receive. Couple each claim taking approximately 1 1/2 hours to process with the antiquated system the VA uses and you create one huge backlog of claims.