- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009

When John Kamin received a letter Wednesday from the Army, he was hoping it contained news that his GI Bill college tuition money would arrive soon. Instead, the Iraq war veteran was informed he may be called back into active duty.

“It felt like salt in the wound,” said the 24-year-old, who is depleting his savings account and borrowing money from his parents to make up for thousands of dollars the government promised him to complete his political science degree at American University.

And Mr. Kamin isn’t alone.

Of more than 277,000 veterans who have applied for the college money this semester, less than 11 percent have actually received the funding.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says it has been contacted by thousands of veterans who have not received their benefits and say that they are forced to take out loans or pay the money out of their own pockets.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” the group said. “The men and women who so courageously served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve better.”

The Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect Aug. 1, but the Department of Veterans Affairs began accepting applications May 1.

The VA says employees are working overtime and retired claims processors have been rehired to address the workload.

VA officials also are contacting schools to update them on the agency’s progress.

“We appreciate the cooperation we are receiving from veterans and educational institutions as we implement this new and complex program,” said Patrick W. Dunne, VA undersecretary.

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