VA says it reversed course on underpaid GI Bill recipients, though lawmakers remain skeptical
WASHINGTON — After Department of Veterans Affairs officials admitted the agency had no plans to retroactively pay some student veterans who are likely to receive incorrect housing stipends during the next year, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie reversed course, saying every underpaid GI Bill recipient will get what they are due.
The statement from Wilkie on Thursday night was met with skepticism from lawmakers, but as of Monday, some Republican lawmakers and veterans groups had spoken to the VA and believed all veterans would get paid. Some Democrats remained doubtful.
The incorrect payments that could be made during the next year are a result of setbacks in implementing a new “Forever” GI Bill — a major expansion of veterans’ education benefits that Congress passed last year.
Part of the new GI Bill changed how veterans’ housing allowances are calculated — they’re now supposed to be based on where veterans take classes, rather than defaulting to their school’s main campus. The change was supposed to be made by Aug. 1, 2018, but information technology problems have set back implementation to Dec. 1, 2019.
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