Photo courtesy of the VA.

The allegation that thousands of Veterans have been waiting months for GI Bill benefit payments is false.

The allegation that some Veterans have been made homeless because of GI Bill payment delays is also false.

VA has been in continuous contact with Congress, Veterans Service Organizations and other stakeholders, soliciting referrals to any affected Veterans. As we receive referrals, they are being moved to the top of the queue for immediate action.

Here are the facts:

As of Nov. 16, we have 74,000 education claims in the work queue. This includes claims that are as new as one day old, and not all involve payments, such as initial applications or changes of programs. Approximately 1-percent or fewer of these claims are more than 60 days old. We continue to monitor closely and prioritize these claims.

As of Nov. 16, VA had 51,100 pending Post-9/11 GI Bill claims, with an average education claim processing time of 24 days for original claims and 16 days for supplemental claims during the month of November.

As of Nov. 16, 63,382 VA education claims were pending less than 30 days.

As of Nov. 16, 9,863 VA education claims were pending between 30 and 60 days.

As of Nov. 16, 867 VA education claims were pending more than 60 days.

VA has processed more than 700,000 education claims for over 450,000 beneficiaries this fall. Less than 4.5 percent of those processed were pending for more than 60 days.

For more information, please see the below FAQ.

Q: What is the current number of student veterans who have yet to receive housing stipends for the 2018 fall semester (and please clarify if that number, by default, would also be the number of veterans whose schools have not been paid tuition)?

A: As of Nov. 16, there are 51,100 Post 9/11 GI Bill claims waiting to be processed. This includes claims that are as new as one day old. Not all involve payments, such as initial applications or changes of programs and not all of these claims are late or taking longer than average to process. In fact, the average claim takes approximately 16 days to process – this is only a two-day difference from VA’s historic processing goal of 14 days or fewer for supplemental claims.

Also, the 74,000 claims number referenced above does not necessarily equate to the number of schools that may have received late payments, as a pending claim can involve payments only to the Veteran, only to the school, or both.

Q: What is the issue?

A: Sections 107 and 501 of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act change the way VA pays monthly housing stipends for all Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients.

These sections affect nearly all Post-9/11 GI Bill students because they change the way VA pays monthly housing stipends by aligning payments with the location where students physically attend most of their classes, and removing the reduction exemption on GI Bill stipends.

Congress and VA alike understood that meeting the law’s August 1 implementation date would be challenging based on the complexity of the rule changes to the automation engine, the Long Term Solution, the department’s 50-year-old education claims IT payments platform (BDN), and several other stovepiped legacy systems that must be integrated.

As VA approached the Aug. 1 implementation deadline, several critical errors were found during testing. These included payment errors that would have resulted in incorrect payments.

Rather than moving forward with a flawed system, VA decided to postpone deployment until it could develop a functional and efficient housing stipend calculation capability.

While VA works on fixing the processing issue, the department is taking the following steps to process Post-9/11 GI Bill education claims:

  • Monthly Housing Allowance payments to students and tuition and fees payments to schools are being processed and paid under the rules in effect prior to August 1 and at 2017 rates.
    • According to DoD, on average, 2018 MHA rates increased by less than 1 percent from 2017
    • So, depending on where they are going to school and when they started using benefits, some affected beneficiaries are likely receiving an average of under 1 percent of what they should be getting, and others are being overpaid by approximately $69 per month.
  • VA will correct any discrepancy between what a student was paid and what he or she should be paid once the technology fixes are in place.
  • If a student was overpaid solely due to the change in law, the student will not be held liable for the debt.
  • VA will correct any discrepancy between what a student was paid and what he or she should be paid once the technology fixes are in place.

Q: What is VA doing about it?

A: VA performed a root cause analysis and determined that policy decisions were required to resolve a number of issues with its education claims IT platform.

VBA Education Service and VA’s Office of Information and Technology reviewed the original requirements in sections 501/107 and remapped all use-cases possible under the law.

VA reviewed and clarified its policies so future software releases accurately reflect a unified, consistent understanding.

VA then modified the housing stipend software and started the testing process. Testing of the improved housing stipend IT software release is ongoing.

Q: When will it be fixed?

A:  VA is working diligently to resolve the outstanding issues, and will determine a deployment timeframe once everything is tested and working.

Q: What is VA doing about veterans experiencing hardships?

A: VA recognizes that timely receipt of the housing allowance is crucial for Post-9/11 GI Bill students and makes every effort to provide these payments quickly.

It is important to understand VA pays Basic Allowance for Housing in arrears, so a student will not receive a housing payment for enrollments beginning in August until September, and the stipend for September is not paid until the beginning of October.

If students believe their payment is delayed, they should check their eBenefits or account for the status of their payment.

If after checking their eBenefits or account the student still believes their payment is delayed, then the student can take any one of the following actions to request a financial hardship:

  • A student can contact the Education Call Center 1-888-442-4551; however, we understand at times VA is experiencing higher than normal wait times, a student can avoid waiting on the phone for solely a payment status by calling 1-888-442-4551 and choosing Option 2 for an automated response
  • A student can contact VA via the GI Bill website at

VA is also working closely with schools, veterans service organizations, and other stakeholders to identify students that may be experiencing a hardship due to the delayed payments.

All hardship claims are expedited for immediate processing. Once the payment is processed by VA, it will take 5-7 days to reach the student’s banking institution.

Q: How many veterans called 888-442-4551 and requested assistance due to hardship? How many have you assisted this semester, and in what way?

A: Approximately 1,000 cases have been processed through the Education Call Center in October.