The GI Bill Facebook Community answers the questions on the minds of many college students beginning the fall semester: “When will I get paid?”
The answer to this question is based on two factors:
Schools have to submit an enrollment certification to the VA in order for the VA to disperse monetary benefits. Comments suggest that some schools are having students hand this certification to the VA, but whether it is through a school official’s hands or you own hands, you need to make sure some channel of information is established between your university and the VA. The VA needs to know, from the university’s paperwork and not your word alone, that you are enrolled for the fall semester.
In July, it took approximately 30 days to process any claim for educational benefits. These 30 days start after the VA receives the school verification. August and September are peak enrollment periods, and all financial aid systems–veterans benefits and standard financial aid for college students alike–become impacted during this time. Late FAFSAs are rolling in against the tide of Post 9/11 GI Bill paperwork and students have their hands tied as they try to obtain the funds needed to attend school. It could take longer than 30 days to process until this peak goes down.
The VA has reported a backlog of over 174,000 requests, five times as much as what they incurred in previous years around this time of year. Combine that with understaffing due to the recession, and you have a mess of the first semester of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. This is a process that might require patience on both ends in order to complete!
In regards to BAH, payment is made in arrears. This means that it is paid at the end of the month in which the student becomes entitled. Students attending class in August receive a partial housing allowance payment around September 1st, and a full housing allowance around October 1st. Sounds backwards, but this is how the paperwork is handled.
Prospective college students looking for military-friendly education supported by the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program for the following semester should have smoother sailings than the Fall 2009 semester.