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Why Is the VA Asking For My Son to Repay Back His Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: my son was honorably discharged from the Navy. He went to a community college and received a BAH allowance. After 2 and 1/2 months he became seriously ill and couldn’t continue his semester. Now they want to him to send back his bah allowance. Is this right?

A: It depends on how the situation was handled. Did your son contact the VA to tell them why he would not be able to continue his schooling under the Post 9/11 GI Bill? If not, then the VA only got documentation from the school that he dropped out, but they most likely did not know why. So as a default, they will ask for the housing allowance back.

If he would have contacted the VA explaining his reason for dropping out, it would most likely have been considered mitigating circumstances and they would not have ask for repayment. But, because they didn’t know and no one contacted them, they treated it as non-mitigating which requires repayment.

My suggestion is for your son to contact the VA Debt Management Center (that is who is most likely asking for the money back), explain why he had to drop out of school and ask for reconsideration. They most likely will change it to mitigating and drop the repayment request.

What I have found out is many of the problems students have with the GI Bill could be prevented or rectified by communicating with the VA as soon as the student is aware of a problem or one developing. In situations where the VA doesn’t know, they usually default to asking for repayment. If nothing else, it usually spurs some conversation going between the veteran and them.

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