How Would You Go About Fixing My GI BIll Delimiting Date Mistake?
Q: I’ll try and keep this short. I started out in the Air Force and signed up for the G.I. Bill in 1994. I then did an inter-service transfer to the Army several years later. I never had a break in service and a few years ago I started using my benefits for school. I have used it now for two and a half years and just recently learned I hit my delimiting date. I had no idea what that was so I called and asked. Turns out they have been paying me benefits believing I was no longer on active duty, and I didn’t know there was a difference. My delimiting date was ten years from when I left the A.F. It will take them awhile, but I now think I am going to end up owing them somewhere around $10,000 that they “over paid” me because of their mistake. What would you recommend in this situation? Thank you for your help in this matter.
A: It sounds like the VA received notice that you got out of the Air Force, but never did get the information about you transferring to the Army. Since your Montgomery GI Bill delimiting date is based on your last discharge date, it should have been 10 years from the date you got out of the Army; fifteen years for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
What I would do immediately is send in a Notice of Disagreement Letter to the VA with a copy of your DD214. Explain what happened and what you are disagreeing to. There isn’t a specific format so just write it as a letter. That should give them a history of your military service and show that you got out of the Air Force and went right into the Army. They should be able to adjust your delimiting date based on that information.
The overpayment “debt” is a different matter. GI Bill debt is handled by a different branch of the VA – the Debt Collection Center. Once your delimiting date is adjusted, the debt “should” clear itself up, but keep checking on it to be sure.
As long as it shows you have a debt, you would not be able to use your GI Bill until you have either paid that debt or set up a payment plan. But in your case, I would not do either at this time. After you send in your DD214, keep dogging the VA until they have your delimiting date resolved.
Then go to the Debt Collection Center and address the debt issue with your updated delimiting date. You should then be able to show them that you should have never established a debt in the first place and they should wipe out the debt owed to them.
If you pay that debt (that you technically do not owe) then you would have another problem of trying to get your money back once your delimiting date is adjusted. If you are thinking that this could turn into a big mess, you are right! But stay the course, keep actively engaged and you should persevere in the end.