WASHINGTON — Thousands of veterans who rely on the GI bill face eviction from housing or don’t have money for groceries or gasoline.
It’s because their checks from the Department of Veterans Affairs are late by 30 to 60 days or more. Here’s what lawmakers are doing about it.
The VA is months behind on thousands of payments for veterans’ school and housing — and lawmakers say this may just be the beginning.
“I’m very worried schools and students have not seen the worse of payment delays,” Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, said.
The American Legion says veterans are facing eviction and are being held back from graduation.
This week, the VA told Congress the delays are still affecting at least 11,000 veterans who have been waiting 30 days or longer.
Congressman Arrington called it unacceptable.
“This is no small thing,” Arrington said.
The problems began last year when President Donald Trump signed the new “Forever GI Bill.”
“To allow every veteran to use their GI Bill education benefits at any point in their lives,” Trump said.
The V.A. says the new program overwhelmed its aging computers and software and officials don’t know when the issues will be resolved.
“We may not have the software ready for the spring semester,” a V.A. official said.
Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke slammed the VA’s response.
“Not very encouraging. You failed to account for the scope of the problem,” O’Rourke, D-Texas, said.
Congressman Jim Banks said he wants to know what VA officials knew about the problem, and when they knew it.
This week, several senators including Sen. Sherrod Brown sent a letter to the VA secretary demanding answers.
“These types of delays are not tolerable, they’re not excusable,” Brown, D-Ohio, said.
Lawmakers are calling on the VA to use the funding Congress has given it, to get the technology up to date.