Over 200,000 vets are not getting their education and housing benefits due to a backlog in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The VA did not take it to be a serious problem and that’s why we’re where we are,” John Kamin, of the American Legion, said.
Kamin says student veterans are facing eviction because the VA is behind on GI Bill payments. Some schools won’t even let veterans graduate or register for classes, because their tuition is late.
“Left moving back in with their parents or couch surfing because the VA was not able to honor these veterans and their service,” said Kamin.
A source within the VA here in New York says that this is not a problem they are seeing locally.
This frustration with how the VA operates and the lack of communication is nothing new. One veteran student Mike Falvo says that he recently received word that he ran out of benefits from his GI Bill, but not from the VA.
“I get a phone call from my adviser and he says we just want to let you know that the VA has not paid for your last two classes. Which was a complete shock and surprise to me.”
Now with only a few credits left, Falvo will have to wait to get financial aid or grants before he can graduate. He says that the VA did not clearly communicate with him details of his GI bill and was even told at times that it would take a year for the VA to get back to him.
“I think that’s one of the biggest problems with the VA now is there is no communication and if there is it’s not effective. We sign the dotted line to defend our country, we deserve better.”
The House Veterans Affairs Committee in DC will be looking into the issue of late payments to students in a hearing scheduled for November 14th.
The VA says veterans who aren’t receiving their payments and need help to call its customer service number at 1-888-442-4551.
The American Legion also urges veterans who are struggling to contact their offices.