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How Long Does It Take To Get My First Post-9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I was wondering about the process of the Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly housing. It seems that I have not received anything in the past two months. I thought the housing allowance was monthly. I understand the school payment takes about 8-12 weeks after it is certified. — Curtis W.

Yes Curtis, the VA pays you a monthly housing allowance along with your book stipend. Both will be sent directly to you as a check or deposited into your bank account, depending on how you set up your payment with the VA.

Ever since the VA released the Post-9/11 GI Bill on August 1 last year, they have been swamped with claims waiting to be processed. Until recently, the average time to process a claim was 10-20 weeks (closer to the 20-week mark rather than 10-week). While they have made significant progress, they are still running at least 10 weeks behind, so I would give your claim some additional time–at least another couple of weeks.

As you probably know, the VA calculates your Post-9/11 GI Bill housing allowance at the E-5 with dependents rate using the zip code of your school. Because of the zip code, the rate varies considerably throughout the nation.

You didn’t say in your question whether you were taking classes online or on campus. If you are taking only online classes, or are less than a half-time student, you do not get a housing allowance.

For your book stipend, you receive $41.67 per credit hour up to a maximum of $1,000 per academic year which equates to 12 credits per term.

Comments  (81)

My wife has been going to school since January 9th and she has not received any BAH payment. She was taking classes in November of last year but took a brake for the holiday season. So if she was receiving her BAH last year why would it take a month and a half to start receiving the BAH again if the VA already has all her paper work and she was receiving it a couple months ago?

posted by Vince
3:32 pm on February 14, 2012

I called them up today and they told me my paperwork had been processed today but I would not see the money until the 1st of next month which is two weeks away even though it is direct deposit. I’ve borrowed from everyone I can borrow from and I have no more food or money to get to and from school or anywhere else. This isn’t even the first semester I’ve been enrolled in!

posted by Jennifer
6:07 pm on February 17, 2012

That is a good question Vince, but since we are not affiliated with the VA, you will have to ask them.

posted by Ron Kness
11:36 am on February 19, 2012

I understand your situation Jennifer – unfortunately, there isn’t anything I can do to help you. The VA is a slow, but constantly moving machine and there is very little anyone can do to speed things up. If you are that desperate for food, don’t be afraid to visit your local food shelf. They can help get you some food at least.

posted by Ron Kness
11:42 am on February 19, 2012

I have been waiting 6 months for my post 9/11 g.i. bill BAH housing allowance. It has been a while, I called and it took them 4 months to mail receive my certificate eligibility for school and I had already submitted everything way before I got out of the active army, and I am a full time student. I have been constantly checking with them.

posted by Ryan Chae Turner
11:04 pm on May 31, 2012

i’ve had these conversations about the VA for years now. I don’t understand why they are so backed up and the unemployment rate is so high. You have all these UNEMPLOYED veterans (Heroes right?) waiting 5 and 6 days just to get a call back from the VA to talk about the benefits they’ve earned for protecting this country. That is just totally unacceptable in my opinion and a mass email should go out stating that the VA is hiring all veterans on the spot.

posted by Mel
4:28 am on July 26, 2012

The problem Mel is that the Department of Veteran Affairs does not have an unlimited budget. Under the Zero Deficit policy, they can’t outspend the budget Congress give them. That is one reason why they have such a backlog – not enough people, yet they have hired as many as their budget will allow.

I agree hiring veterans would provide a solution (or at least help) their backlog issue, but until Congress opens their purse strings, nothing will change. I read an article the other day that stated the average VA claim processing time is 125 days and they are 915,000 claims behind.

posted by Ron Kness
9:41 am on July 29, 2012

I am pretty sure there are people that would volunteer if it would speed up the process. I was just wondering what is so hard about releasing GI Bill money once all information is recieved and there are no problems? It shouldn’t matter if it’s direct deposit or sent in a check.

posted by Patricia Smith
10:28 am on September 2, 2012

Had the same problems3 different times with benefits transferred to my son. On all 3 occasions, the semester was almost complete…and when I called the VA to inquire about the payments, each time they told me they had just processed the payment that day…ironic.

posted by D. Hunter
10:08 am on September 4, 2012

I have to give some props to the va. my husband applied for benefits the second week of august. received his certificate of eligibility on Tuesday. took it into his school, where they filled out and faxed in that day. 2 hours later, the va had processed the claim and had paid the school! less than a month this all had taken place! i’m extremely impressed and grateful!

posted by jenn
1:37 am on September 6, 2012

That is great, but know that you are the exception and not the norm. It also sounds like you have a very responsive school which is is half the battle also.

posted by Ron Kness
10:00 am on September 9, 2012

Well like they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

posted by Ron Kness
10:04 am on September 9, 2012

The biggest issue is the VA doesn’t have near the people and infrastructure they should have for the number of claims and applications they have to process. Because of the Zero Deficit Initiative, they can’t spend more than what Congress gives them, so they can’t hire more people or acquire more technology.

Volunteers would help solve the people problem, but not the shortage of computers for them to work at, only in the short term and only after an extensive train-up program. But volunteers are not a stable workforce that the VA could depend on for the long term, plus it probably violates some type of Federal Regulation. My point is if it was a valid option, I’m sure the VA would already be using it.

posted by Ron Kness
10:13 am on September 9, 2012

Something has to be wrong Ryan for it to take that long. You should have sen some money by the end of 2 1/2 months at the latest. I would enlist the help of your school’s VA certifying Official and see if that person an figure out what is going on. Most of the time, they have more clout and can get some answers.

posted by Ron Kness
10:44 am on September 9, 2012

Whenever i talk to the VA i swear i have this urge to be able to jump through the phone and strangle somebody. Its been 3 months and i havent recieved nothing for being CH 33 and when i called last week i was told my stuff wasn’t even processed yet. I am livid because i am 23 yrs old served a year downrange and got out because i was getting messed up in the head now i’m in school and have no way to pay my rent or car or gas or even food because the VA wants to take there time processing my stuff.

posted by Neil
5:38 pm on October 1, 2012

I have been waiting to receive these benefits for a few months now and have see nothing. It is extrmemly frusterating that I am nearing the halfway point in the semester and have spent nothing but my own money and put myself in debt because the VA process takes so long. I have written an e-mail everyday for the past week and have not received one response. I understand the VA is very backed up and continuously moving to process claims. But if it is this much of a problem with people receiving their benefits; why not get more help? Just doesn’t make sense…

posted by Andrea
10:22 pm on October 3, 2012

I have been in class for 6 weeks going on seven now and still no housing allowance for currently taking 3 distance learning credit hours. My schools VA department submitted an enrollment certification on 12Sept2012 which I assume is what is required for me to get housing allowance?

posted by Thad
3:06 pm on October 11, 2012

It can take 8 to 10 weeks from when your school submitted a Certificate of Enrollment on your behalf before you start to see any money.

posted by Ron Kness
8:05 pm on October 12, 2012

It isn’t as easy as “getting more help”. The Department of Veterans Affairs is limited by the budget that Congress gives them. Under the current Zero Deficit initiative, an agency cannot outspend their budget, so the only way the VA can hire more help (and the infrastructure to support them such as computers) would be to get a bigger budget from Congress.

posted by Ron Kness
8:18 pm on October 12, 2012

If it has been three months, then there is most likely something wrong. Normally you should see money in 8 to10 weeks once your school sends in a Certificate of Enrollment on your behalf. I would suggest contacting your VA Certifying Official at your school. S/he may be able to get some answers for you.

posted by Ron Kness
8:21 pm on October 12, 2012

The part about online classes not getting housing allowance is not true. Quoted from website: Exclusively online is $684.00. http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rates/CH33/Ch33rates080112.html#MHA

posted by Kevin
12:24 am on October 18, 2012

My husband has been enrolled in school almost 8 weeks so far, and he checked with the VA office at school today. They sent everything in, they are just that behind we were told. If it weren’t for student loans, we would really be in a mess waiting for the VA. We are needing the BAH pretty badly at this point. I understand being behind, but I am amazed that it is this back logged. I guess we should be lucky to get it before Christmas at this rate, right?

posted by Melissa
8:41 pm on October 18, 2012

You are right now, but when the blog posted in 2010, that was not the case. The GI Bill 2.0 fix in 2011 is what established the online-only housing allowance for distance learning students.

posted by Ron Kness
1:17 pm on October 20, 2012

Unfortunately Melissa, the VA is dependent on having to “get by” with what Congress give them for a budget. Under the Zero Deficit Initiative (I know, don’t laugh being our national debt is 3 trillion dollars and climbing) government agencies can’t outspend their budget. So for the VA to get “caught up”, then need more money so they can hire and train people and to purchase the necessary infrastructure to support the additional people, such as office space, desk and chairs, phones and computers.

posted by Ron Kness
1:23 pm on October 20, 2012

My husband applied in July and every time we call or email we get that they are working on it. It would be nice to just know a date. He has been in school since August and we have had to apply for a student loan so he could continue going to school. It funny because if I owed them they just take their money.

posted by Kell
11:30 am on October 22, 2012

If he has not received any money by now, then something is wrong. Have him check with his VA Certifying Official at his school and see if that person can get things ironed out. Once he starts receiving his pay, he will get the back pay he is due.

posted by Ron Kness
10:31 am on November 14, 2012

How long does it take to get the money once your school sends the certification? I got an email saying the VA received it from my school a few weeks ago.

posted by Heather Richardson
10:04 am on February 11, 2013

I was wondering about online class n yes again as mentioned by a person on here on here you do get 684 for online. I did my vonapp n received an email sent to me January 31 from St. Louis saying that my claim was downloaded and I would be contacted but its 12 February and I haven’t heard anything via email and when I call I have to leave a message for them to call me back with the automated machine. It’s nerve racking and I have rent as well. I’m excited about attending ITT for criminal justice online but va needs to speed up the process. I served for nine years total prior service n all overseas injured now n al we ask is to receive what is due to us for Erving our country. Is anyone else taking online classes and if so how long did it take to receive your first payment. I won’t even talk about my disability claim that is taking forever and I started when I went on terminal leave of June 2012 it is now 12 February 2013.

posted by Renatha
11:22 am on February 12, 2013

We all agree that the “VA needs to speed up the process”, but getting them to do it has been a long process. They do have their LTS process in place and it is suppose to cut down the processing time as it incorporates 80 business rules that is suppose to automate much of the processing. Right now, the VA is talking about a 24 day processing time for new students. Six days for student already in the system.

posted by Ron Kness
8:36 am on March 16, 2013

Anywhere from 24 days to 8 weeks.

posted by Ron Kness
8:37 am on March 16, 2013

The VA needs to hire people that will be working the claims instead of hiring people at the “CALL CENTER” which have no knowledge of the process. They are there to answer only what they see on their computer and have a scripted answer. I’ve talk to a person at the call center and couldn’t even answer a simple question. It took us 30 minutes all he gave me is “I understand sir, but just be aware that there are thousands of veterans out there with claims and we are doing our best to process your claim”… which has nothing to do with my question… so I asked for a supervisor and he hung up the phone on me… I called again and requested to speak to a supervisor and reported that employee, the supervisor later called me and he said “I understand and I reviewed the recorded conversation and you are right I do not understand why he couldn’t answer your question because once I heard your question I knew right away what you are asking for… we will make sure he gets the proper training”… I told him it sounded like he is trained to say the script and he admitted that they have a certain script they go by… so bottom line is, the CALL CENTER is no help to the VETERAN but it is just another step to buy some time… if the VA do not have the budget to hire people to help and also buy the extra computers then they should CUT the budget on hiring people at the CALL CENTER coz they are just a bunch of waste of time and money… My personal advice to my fellow Veterans, if you are needing assistance or clarification “GO TO AN AGENCY LIKE M.O.P.H. coz the person I spoke to has more access to the VA Files unlike the waste of time call center… I got a better answer and got a better idea on where my claim is at… also if you need assistance filing your claim they can help you as well…

posted by G.I. Joe
4:29 pm on June 15, 2013
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