Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Green to Gold & GI Bill Finances

Two posts in one day?  I know... what has gotten into me?

The VA

This isn't so much a rant, just a stomp-your-foot kind of frustration.  You see... this Green to Gold thing, while wonderful and a huge blessing, can come with it's fair share of decisions.  At first glance, it's great! (ok... it really is GREAT... but like I said, I'm stomping my foot) Full scholarship, get your degree, become an officer. Well the full scholarship is really more of a this or that.  You can get it for your tuition, or you can choose to get it for your room and board.  The great thing about Green to Gold though, is that most G2G-ers also have the option to use their GI Bill, so whatever you choose to use the G2G scholarship for, you can use your GI Bill for the other.**

This works out to be a pretty decent income for us while Sgt. is off taking 18 hours of classes called things like "Numerical Analysis and Theory" (Have I mentioned my husband is a Math major... with a Physics and Military Science minor? Have I mentioned that my favorite class in college was Children's Movement... where we learned how to juggle?)

Well... with his major and minor requiring lots of hours, he's had to take summer classes.  Luckily, the GI Bill will cover summer classes if you choose, or even break pay... like Christmas break for example... if you choose. Sgt. has opted for both at one time or another.

Now... if you're still following along here, this is where it gets fuzzy, so be careful.  We are nearing the end of our in-between Army world journey (YAY!) and we are also nearing the end of our GI Bill earning... (Oh No!) So, in an effort to extend the GI Bill through his senior spring semester... we stopped break pay this summer (basically turned it off for the 2010-2011 school year).  Then, this fall, Sgt. dropped one of his classes after the deadline so we had to pay back a little bit of money for the class and book allowance. That's fine, no big deal.

Well, the VA (The GI Bill issuers... and many other veteran services) decided to audit his file.  Fine, we have nothing to hide. Then they decided to send us a bill. Now, again, the VA is a great organization who has been pretty decent to us - except that they're crazy.  They decided that since he stopped break pay... they would charge him for every weekend throughout the summer as break pay that he received and needed to pay back.  Even though he was taking classes and receiving tuition pay.

So... a two hour phone call later my poor husband has to submit a written request to see his file and go through each number himself (because that's what he does... ) to find out exactly where they got this ridiculous number that we owe them.  The sad part... even THEY couldn't tell us.

Slow to pay you, quick to take it back.

Please VA... no more crazy bills for crazy things you can't explain... I already work too much, and I'm only on salary!