Receive breaking news and special reports. The news and stories that mattered delivered the weekday mornings.
By Phil McCausland
For weeks, veterans across the country have raised an alarm for late or false alarms GI Bill benefits from payments that the Department of Veterans Affairs blamed for computer problems. However, on Wednesday, the Department told Congressional staff that it would not reimburse veterans who paid less than they owed, two committee assistants told NBC News.
The news conflicted with a VA officials' plea that a House Committee earlier this month claimed to reimburse veterans who had received less than the full amount due.
According to the helpers, however, the VA said it could not make any retroactive payments without considering its earlier educational entitlements, as this would delay future claims. The adjutants asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
NBC News previously reported that some veterans had fallen into desperate financial straits resulting from a change in the calculation of housing benefits under the Forever GI Act, which President Donald Trump enacted in July 2017. When his computers could not handle this change, the VA quickly faced a threefold backlog of veteran claims.
Because of these problems, the VA had already announced on Wednesday that this was the case The housing allowances for Forever GI Bill would be delayed until December 2019 – and again promised that retroactive payments would be made to those who did not receive a correct amount would have received.
But VA officials said Wednesday morning in a telephone conversation that Congressional employees said so Once the system is completed next year, they will not make any retroactive payments to those who were underpaid for housing miscalculations.
"You will essentially ignore the law and say that this change will not take place until December 2019," one employee told NBC News.
The reason the VA decided not to make the retrospective payments was that it had. According to the case officer, the UA would have expected to have examined 2 million applications.
VA officials said this could mean further delays in handling future claims, according to the helpers. a problem that has affected some veterans earlier this year.
Although this decision may mean that the agency disregards the law because it does not provide student veterans with the correct amount as required by two sections of the Forever GI Act, the VA told Congress staff they had a legal one Justification to push this decision forward.
However, they did not share this justification.
On request, a spokesman for the VA, Di d did not address the issue directly. Instead, she reiterated that the Agency would postpone the payment of housing allowances under the new GI forever until spring 2020, instead paying housing subsidies based on the former US Department of Defense Housing Basic Housing Allowance.
Attempting to transpose the law would do so "A huge administrative burden for schools where around 35,000 certifying officers would have to retroactively track and re-authenticate hundreds of thousands of filing documents," said VA spokesman Curtis Cashour ,
Cashour also said that students who were overpaid because of legislative changes or problems with the implementation of the law, "are not held liable for the debt."
However, he did not comment on those who were underpaid, and the rampant confusion still surrounds the issue. It is not known how many students have been underpaid so far, how many more could be underpaid under the law changes, and how much money this vet Erans is guilty of.
The assistants of the Congress described the situation as "frustrating". One commenting on VA's changing responses and constant confusion asked, "I mean, I take crazy pills?" (19659009) Paul Lawrence is scheduled to testify Thursday morning to the House Committee for Veterans & # 39; Affairs.
One of the council members said Congressmen would try to resolve this issue before proceeding with the hearing.
"You need to find out," said the counselor.