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The senior VA executive was severely criticized for not having to pay veterans full benefits



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By Phil McCausland

Paul Lawrence, who oversees the Veterans Benefits Administration, was accused on Thursday of congressional members of school veterans who were not paid the right amount under the Forever GI Bill.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Who is likely to be Parliament's next speaker, accused the VA of "gross negligence" and "a shameful lack of accountability" after NBC News reported Wednesday that the VA had some student veterans Those who paid less than they were due under the Forever GI Law would not repay.

Lawrence defended his representation to Congress on Thursday, calling the NBC report "misleading." He said that all veterans would be "complete". Later, however, at a hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, he confirmed that the agency did not intend to pay veterans based on the Forever GI Bill rates until the spring of 2020 ̵

1; and expressed uncertainty as to whether it would be worthwhile. to go back and pay students accordingly

In recent semesters, the VA has in some cases sent late or miscalculated payments for GI bills because computer problems occurred when trying to read two sections of the Forever GI Housing Calculations Act to implement. The law, which was passed in July 2017, was due to enter into force on August 1, 2018, but the UAA announced Wednesday that it would delay the changes in housing subsidy until December 2019.

Two congressional assistants told NBC News that VA officials had told them. On a call with Congressional employees on Wednesday, the agency had decided not to retroactively reimburse veterans on the basis of fees for Forever's GI bill. A third committee official confirmed Thursday morning that United Nations officials said at the same request that some veterans of students would not be repaid "in cases where a veteran would have received a higher allowance due to the place where he attended the lesson" (19659011)] Lawrence referred to the earlier reports by NBC News during his opening statement and said, "Nothing could be further from the truth." He emphasized that student veterans from the last semester to January would receive the correct amount.

"Any veteran of the GI bill after 9/11 will be 100 percent retroactively required for its housing benefits. This academic year is based on DoD rates not yet covered," Lawrence said, referring to installments Calculated differently than under the Forever GI Law. "From spring 2020, we may be able to provide veterans with new installments to comply with the law known as the Forever GI Law.

His testimony made it clear that the agency is applying housing benefit rates calculated by the US Department of Defense, and not the Forever GI Law. Here's the difference: Forever's GI bill requires that veterans receive housing allowance, depending on the location of each campus. VA uses the Ministry of Defense tariffs, which are based on the location of the main campus of the university. In many cases, a school's main campus may be located in a university town where the cost of living is lower than that of a satellite campus in a major city school.

So, a veteran visiting this satellite campus in the city would still be underpaid for "the currently unlocked DoD rates" relative to the location of the main campus, which would probably be less than Forever's GI bill.

Members of the committee urged Lawrence to receive additional information on whether students would receive retroactive payments. Forever GI Bill's housing calculation until December 2019, when the VA expects the new housing allowance to be introduced.

Lawrence said that the VA did not know what the difference in payments would be and how many students' veterans would be affected. 19659007] "It's not clear what the differences will be, and we need to figure that out and work with your team to find out," he told committee members. "Will all processing end with a person receiving a $ 1 check? We do not know that, yet. It is not our intention to harm veterans, but it is also our intention to work the GI Law effectively and accurately in the future. "

Several committee members expressed their frustration that they lack clarity about the retroactive payments made to" students as a whole ", according to the Forever GI Bill.


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