Friday, August 11, 2006

He'p me, he'p me

Know what this would do to a VA advisor's head?Okay, I had a very bad conversation with my Veteran's Affairs financial advisor this morning. I have been ignoring it as much as possible because immediately following the conversation, I wanted to punch someone in the neck.

They are screwing up my GI Bill. And it's entirely their fault.

For those of you who don't know, when you are going to school, and you have the GI Bill, you receive a monthly stipend. It's a considerable sum of money and is meant to help defray the cost of living while attending school. Regardless of intent, it is a right of every service member who elected to buy into the program.

This is only my third semester at this school, but so far their VA dept. has left a lot to be desired. The first semester getting information from them was about as difficult as retrieving a club sandwich from a great white. The second semester I was late in getting information to them, so my payments were delayed (this was my fault, but I was used to my old VA advisor at another school who did automatic updates within the same school year). This semester I took great pains to get all my information to them early.

I hadn't heard anything from the VA (I usually get at least an e-mail confirming their receipt of my critical information for the semester), so I called them this morning. Yes, they had received my information. Everything was good on my end.

HOWEVER, they had some problems. See, back two semesters ago, the satellite training facility moved from classrooms here on the Marine base to classrooms downtown at a local college. The main campus of my school is located an hour down the road and these classes are offered at several satellite campuses throughout the region.

It appears that no one told the VA about this move. 'Cause, see, they gotta inform the Main VA office in Atlanta of any changes to the training/education facility. Annually, they have to recertify their VA program through the state. As they were going through this process, they ran across this irregularity and are just now getting around to submitting the information to the Atlanta VA office. It could take as long as a month and a half just for the Atlanta office to do its certification. My information cannot even be sent in for processing until they complete this certification. Once my information is sent, it takes up to six weeks for Atlanta to process it. Which is why I was so keen on getting my information early this time around. I didn't want to have to wait an extra month to get my money from the VA like I did last semester.

Basically, this means that it will probably be December before I can get my GI Bill funds. That is, when this semester is over, I'll get paid for this semester.

The upside is that I'm not losing any money. I'm just not getting it when I'm supposed to be. Which is hard when you have planned on having it and it's completely out of your hands and not your fault that you're not getting it.

Normally, I would just troop on, suck it up, and let the situation fix itself. But I've had repeatedly bad service from this school's VA office. This latest problem is completely unacceptable. I just don't know what to do about it. The VA advisor says that no one told them about the change until just a few days ago so it's not their fault. I'm not sure I buy that.

I was ready to write a nasty gram to everybody and their brother at the school and perhaps the Atlanta VA office as well. I need to calm down considerably before I do that, though.

What do you think I should do innerwebs?

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