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How Do I Avoid Paying Back the VA’s G.I. Bill Advance Payment?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Does anyone know anything about the advance payment from the VA regarding the GI Bill and what steps need to be taken to avoid it from being taken from your paycheck?

A: The VA initiated the Advance Payment Program in an attempt to get veterans some money – up to $3,000 – quickly while the VA feverishly tried working down their large and expanding backlog of applications. The backlog was due to:

  • the new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill starting on August 1, 2009;
  • everyone wanting to use the new G.I. Bill;
  • it taking three times as long to process a payment under the new bill as it did under the old bill.

And by the way, the VA was not given any new resources by Congress to handle the extra workload.

The VA made it well known the advance payment was a loan and not extra money, yet every day I read about veterans upset at the VA for taking money out of their G.I. Bill payments to pay back the advance payment.

The bottom line is you can’t avoid paying back the advance payment. What you can do though – and the VA made it very clear – is to arrange for an alternate payment plan. If you didn’t submit your plan, then the VA began on April 1st taking $750 per month out of your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill payment and they will continue to do so until your advance payment is repaid. Those submitting an alternate plan have a lesser amount taken out, but it will take them longer to pay back their advance payment.

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