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How Can the VA Make the Same Mistake Multiple Times on My Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: First question: I was paid a living expense while going to school, but then got a letter stating they overpaid me and I needed to pay it back. This was done more than once. How can they make the same mistake that many times? How can I find out if they are telling me the truth? I am married with 2 kids and make $8.00 an hour. Is there a program to help me pay it back?

A: First, in defense of the VA, they were paying you what they thought you had coming as far as what they were seeing in your records. Evidently that was not right and it took awhile for the error to surface. My question is why were you not eligible for the living expense?

Where you not taking at least 51% of the number of credits your school considers to be full-time. If so, that would have made you ineligible.

Or were you taking all classes online, but getting the Post 9/11 GI Bill full housing allowance rate. In this case, you were being paid about twice of what you should have received. Or maybe they were paying you based on the 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier rate when in fact you should have been paid at a lesser percentage. Or maybe you dropped classes after your school’s official drop date had passed or did not pass some classes.

Depending on the reason for the drop or failure, they may have determined that you have to pay back that money paid for those classes or the housing allowance amount dependent on those classes.

As you can see, there is a myriad of reasons for overpayment. Because there is not a program to help you pay it back, your best bet now is to contact the VA Debt Management Center and try to work out a payment schedule with them. If you don’t, then the VA will turn it over to the IRS and they will withhold the amount you owe (and probably with interest) from your next Income Tax Refund.

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