More than 82,000 U.S. veterans receiving educational benefits under the GI Bill have yet to receive housing stipends for the current semester, leaving them struggling to pay bills, NBC News reports.
When the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tried to implement legal changes in how housing benefits are calculated, they ran into technology problems as they reconfigured their aging computer systems. That led to a delay in receiving student data from colleges, leaving the VA to struggle with a backlog in student information, according to the report.
In the meantime, student veterans have been left without funds they need to pay rent and other expenses, forcing many to rely on credit cards or help from relatives.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is scheduled to hold a hearing on the problems on Thursday, including testimony from VA officials and an executive from IT contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
“It is of utmost importance that we hold this oversight hearing to get to the bottom this problem and ensure that VA is working to swiftly correct these errors,” said committee chairman Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican, in a statement. “I look forward to hearing VA’s plan to right these wrongs, receiving additional insight into the core of the problem, and learning how VA plans to avoid future errors like this one. I will continue to work to ensure these problems are fixed, and I will not rest until our student veterans receive the full and correct benefits they have rightfully been promised.”