Veterans who have been approved to receive veterans’ benefits should not have to worry that logistical issues will prevent them from receiving the compensation they deserve. However, there are numerous reasons that benefit delays occur, and often those delays are preventable. One of the more recent problems affecting benefits concerns student veteran benefits. According to a recent report from NBC News, student veterans have been facing significant harms as a result of benefits delays by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In response to those delays, Congress passed two laws at the end of 2018 designed to ensure that student veterans would receive the benefits they are owed.
Bills Pass to Help Student Veterans Receive Benefits
At the end of the 2018 legislative session, Congress passed two separate bills related to student veterans benefits. According to the report, the Forever GI Bill Housing Payment Fulfillment Act “aims to ensure veterans received all the money they were owed.” The second bill, the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, is designed to “further protect recipients from suffering consequences because of VA’s delay.” Why is there a need to pass legislation that promises veterans benefits that they already are owed?
As the report explains, “thousands of student veterans received late or incorrect housing payments this past semester because of computer problems at the VA.” Some of those veterans also did not receive tuition payments. As a result, many student veterans found themselves in complicated financial positions, from being unable to make housing payments to being unable to pay tuition at their colleges. In response to errors at delays from the VA, a number of those student veterans ended up using their credit cards to make the payments they owed—taking on substantial amounts of high-interest debt—or taking out personal loans to cover the money that they expected to receive from the benefits they were promised.
Computer Problems Resulted in Veterans Benefits Errors
The underlying reason that many veterans did not receive the benefits to which they were entitled was a preventable problem — computer issues. Trump signed a veterans benefits law in 2017, but in attempting to implement it, the VA computer systems began having problems. More specifically, “the bill required the VA to calculate housing in a new way, but the change caused computer systems to freeze and delayed benefit payments.”
The recent legislation requires the VA to fix remaining problems and to ensure that student veterans receive proper benefits. The legislation also requires that a team audits veterans benefits payments to ensure that no mistakes are made and to take action when errors do arise.
Contact a Veterans Benefits Attorney in Indiana
Applying for veterans benefits or appealing a veterans benefits decision can be complicated. If you are not currently receiving the veterans benefits you deserve, you should speak with an Indiana veterans benefits lawyer about your options. Our firm has experience with a wide variety of veterans benefits issues, from filing a form 9 to filing a notice of disagreement. Contact the Comerford Law Office, LLC to learn more about the services we provide to clients in Indiana and Illinois.