Important Updates Coming this Summer!
Welcome to the July edition of the Bi-Monthly GI Bill® Student newsletter! We hope that you are safely enjoying the summer season. Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced an effort to modernize the operations of the GI Bill for Veterans, Service members, and their dependents. Referred to as the Digital GI Bill (DGIB), this transformation will improve the user experience, provide faster and easier access to benefits, cut claims processing times, and enhance VA’s tools to aid Veterans in their educational and career goals. Watch the DGIB Intro video to see what's in store for your GI Bill experience.
For the most recent updates to your benefits, be sure to check out our Isakson and Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 webpage.
Be sure to add Veteransbenefits@messages.va.gov to your contacts list to ensure that you receive important updates for VA and share with other Veterans and GI Bill beneficiaries, too!
Important Changes to Rounding Out
The practice of “rounding out” provides eligible GI Bill students in their last term with the option to take additional classes to bring their course load to full-time and receive a full-time monthly housing allowance. In accordance with law, VA is only authorized to pay GI Bill benefits for classes that are part of an approved program of education and count toward completion of that approved program of education.
Beginning on Aug. 1, 2021, students can “round out” in their last term only if they are taking classes that are approved for their program of education. Classes approved for a program of education means those that can be used to satisfy the graduation requirements of the program as specified in the curriculum. Classes that have been previously completed cannot be used to round out the student’s course load.
Learn more here.
COVID-19 Debt Relief Expiring Soon
COVID-19 Debt Relief Expiring – If you have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have a VA debt, VA is offering help until September 30, 2021. To provide relief for Veterans, during the COVID-19 pandemic, VA paused collection on all VA benefit debts created between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021. VA also offered a pause on collection and repayment plans for debts created before April 1, 2020.
If you continue to face financial hardship and need assistance with repaying your VA debt after September 30, 2021, you can find out how to request help by visiting the Manage your VA debt webpage.
VA is extending debt relief for Veterans through September 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. VA will suspend collection of all Veteran benefit overpayments incurred between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021. No adverse actions or collection attempts will occur during this suspension period. Additionally, all copayments for medical care and pharmacy services incurred from April 6, 2020, through September 30, 2021, will be cancelled, along with any fees or interest. Any payments for this time period will be refunded.
VA is committed to keeping Veterans informed about their debt and the expansive relief options available.
What will happen next
With regard to benefit overpayments, Veterans will receive a letter from the VA Debt Management Center (DMC) showing current debt amount as well as available options. Subsequent letters will be sent showing updates to Veterans’ accounts.
What Veterans can do now
For benefit overpayments, no action is required through September 30, 2021. That said, if Veterans would like to resolve debts sooner, there are options they can exercise now. VA can work with Veterans to determine what option is best. Options include:
- Making a payment
- Establishing a repayment plan
- Submitting a compromise offer
- Disputing the debt
Requesting a waiver
For benefit debt, information is available online at https://www.va.gov/manage-va-debt/, or by calling the DMC at 800-827-0648, or via IRIS at https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/ask/.
You have questions. VA has answers.
Call VA today.
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Greetings from the VA Debt Management Center (DMC),
DMC recently shared a blog post about ongoing debt relief for students here. A copy of the text is also attached in letter format for ease of sharing. We are asking for your assistance in making sure students are aware of ongoing debt relief options from VA.
DMC also has a new website that includes a debt portal for Veterans. Veterans with benefit debt can log in to see their debt balance and letters. Please note: the portal is for Veterans only (dependents and school officials do not have access). Veterans can access the tool at www.va.gov/manage-va-debt.
Please encourage students to contact our office if they have any questions or concerns regarding repayment of VA education debt. We’ve also included some important reminders below.
Collection remains paused for all Veteran benefit overpayments incurred between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021
Relief options for Veterans with debts created prior to April 6, 2020, continue to be available. Veterans and beneficiaries should contact DMC if they are having difficulties making payments.
Students with questions about VA benefit debt can call the DMC (800-827-0648) from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/ask/ to submit their requests online.
Notification letters to institutions continue to be sent on normal timelines.
The VA Debt Management Center Outreach Team
One VA Debt Relief Letter.pdf