It’s unclear when or even if veterans who’ve been short-changed on their “Forever GI Bill” benefits may get what they’re owed.
Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican who is a combat veteran, is among those who’ve asked the Veterans Administration for an explanation. “Someone from the VA had indicated they would not go back and correct the deficient payments that had been made to our veterans for their educational benefits,” Ernst says, “and our stance is if you have promised our veterans that those payments would be made, then they need to be made.”
The Forever GI Bill provides educational and housing benefits to military veterans who go to college.
“And if they were told that they would receive these educational benefits, we need to ensure they are receiving those educational benefits,” Ernst says.
A Veterans Administration official gave conflicting answers to a House committee Thursday, leaving open the possibility benefits may not be recalculated and veterans may not be fully reimbursed for the fall semester. Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City says the situation is causing financial hardship for many veterans who’ve gone back to school.
“We’re hopeful that this is going to get taken care of. I don’t know if it is just an IT glitch or what it is,” Loebsack says. “But this is compounding of course, the Iowa National Guard members who were forced to pay back a part of their salary after a payrolll error was made by the Army.”
Loebsack says Iowa veterans may call his office for assistance in calculating what they’re owed through the Forever GI Bill.
“I’ve held every administration accountable, whether it’s Democratic or Republican, since I’ve been in congress and that’s what we’ve got to do,” Loebsack says. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of it.”
Loebsack has been a member of congress since 2007 — which means he’s served during the George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump Administrations.