There are significantly more veterans attending college this year than last through their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. Many soldiers enlisted solely for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, and are now cashing in on their earnings. Like most things military related, however, many veterans are also complaining about the amount of red tape they have to push through. The bureaucracy involved with the bill is causing both uncertainty and irritation, according to a new study.
The report is probably the most inclusive study about the effectiveness of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Researchers used surveys and various focus groups in an attempt to capture the reality of what soldiers endure as they cycle into a classroom from the military. One of the biggest complaints is the seemingly insurmountable labyrinth created by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the colleges veterans attend. Other complaints included:
- Confusion as to the intended use of VA checks;
- Delayed payments;
- Lacking an online payment tracking system;
- Credit transfer policies within colleges and universities being consistent; and
- Long wait times when calling VA hotlines for help.
Almost 50% of respondents complained of the VA’s payment backlog as creating unnecessary challenges. For those students attending public 2-year colleges, the percentage of students struggling to get benefits is significantly higher. Many veterans did respond as being happy with the amount of benefits available beyond tuition, e.g., money for books and living expenses.
The red tape, however, did not provide the only challenge to these veterans. Many complained of not being able to balance school with work and family time. Military veterans will usually always attend college as non-traditional students and will therefore face stressors many other students do not. Many veterans also return to the civilian world suffering from various mental health issues.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.