Student Veterans Frequently Paid Late By VA

Work-study veterans having difficulty getting paid on time.

Reports from all across the country indicate that a number of veterans who work part-time for the VA while attending college are consistently receiving paychecks that are weeks, even months late. A number of veterans are forced to take out loans or borrow money to provide for their families, stay in their homes, and pay their bills in the meantime.

Air Force veteran Jon Bohlander, a single parent of three, has asked Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., for help getting the VA to pay. After Yoder's office made inquiries, the turnaround improved for two or three weeks, but then it "just falls back into the routine again," he said.
A few interesting points from the article highlighted the problem in stark terms:

  • Six veterans interviewed by The Associated Press reported delays of up to two months in getting a paycheck or getting approval for the contract allowing them to hold a work-study job. They also complained of long waits on hold when calling about the checks and contracts.
  • Veterans at the University of Colorado, Denver, keep score to see "who cannot get paid the longest," said Metcalf, an Air Force veteran who has a work-study job. The record is 90 days.

The focus of the work-study jobs is generally offering support to other veterans. Student workers assist veterans in signing up for benefits, process paperwork at colleges or VA offices, work at VA hospitals, or at cemeteries.
The article claims veterans say they hang on to the jobs despite the problems because their days and hours are flexible and they prize the loyalty and friendship of their co-workers and bosses. They also feel an obligation to help other veterans navigate through college life, a radically different world from the military.
"It's my duty to do that," Metcalf, a veteran from Colorado, said. "And I take that on, even though I'm not getting paid in a timely manner."