Congress wants to know why the VA is failing to pay student veterans
Congressional members charged with overseeing the interests of former American service members have asked the Department of Veterans Affairs for a briefing to explain why its “work study” program is often months late paying many of its employees: college students who served in the military.
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Ashley Metcalf, now a student at the University of Colorado Denver, says he and other students employed by the VA to help fellow vets transition into college frequently wait months for VA wages to arrive.
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs issued that request of VA officials on Wednesday, one day after NBC News reported student veterans hired by the VA to help fellow ex-service members transition into college have routinely waited one to two months — and, in one case, four months — for unpaid wages. Delayed compensation from the VA has caused eviction worries and mounting debt among some of those student veterans.
A call by NBC News to VA media relations officials Wednesday seeking comment on the Congressional briefing was not returned by Thursday morning.
Beyond finding delayed VA payments to student veterans at more than a dozen campuses covered by his survey, (Ashley) Metcalf said student veterans in two additional states — Michigan and Washington — contacted him after NBC News reported the glitches and added their late-payment complaints to the growing list.
“If we were an anomaly, it would only be happening to us,” Metcalf said. “Before we even sent out the survey, we called different schools and different organizations. We went online to find out if other schools are having the same issue. That’s the reason we started the survey — we were talking to student veterans who were all having the same problems in different states.”
He also responded to the VA’s claim of “typically” processing time cards in less than a week with one word: “preposterous.”
It’s good to see that action is being taken to get to the bottom of this problem. One can only hope that this is resolved, and resolved soon. These stories of the VA failing us veterans are growing daily and it’s beyond time to fix them.