GI Bill payment problems

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 27, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 11 at 11:08 PM

April 2004, Justin Miller a Marine on his first tour of duty hits the ground in Fallujah, Iraq,  and finds himself in a bloody street by street battle against entrenched insurgents.

"Everyday clearing out hundreds of buildings," he said.

In this conflict, Justin loses friends and gains respect.

"Fighting every block, fighting every block of the way for us," said Justin.

The Everett resident is home now with his wife Kristina, and he's hot feeling burned by the very government for which put his life on the line to defend.

"I don't think it's appreciated for what we did and it's not upholding their part of the contract," he said.

The contract is one he signed with the Department of Veterans Affairs. In it his education benefits would be covered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but now the VA wants $8,150 of that money back.

"If you don't give us money, we're going to withhold your income tax return, you're not going to be able to build credit  - all kinds of stuff they're saying they are going to do if I don't pay them this money," said Justin.

Here's what happened: Justin's funds were supposed to go to Kaplan University where he is taking online courses to become a dietitian. Instead, the money went to him and he paid Kaplan. The VA had not given Justin a solid explanation as to why the VA wanted the money back.

"I called them repeatedly. I did so much to get them to do something for me. I'd call and they'd say we haven't reviewed your letter yet," he recalled.

Justin did not enroll this quarter after recently making the president's list because he wasn't sure if the VA would come calling for even more money.

"It wasn't until you got involved that they wanted to lift a finger and help me," he said.

Soon after our call, the VA sent Justin a waiver for $4,100. Two weeks after that, he got another call and was told good news.

"'We're waving the total amount and you are not going to owe anything,' I said 'I'm not going to owe you guys a penny, no more money. It's all said and done and over with?' The lady said 'yes,'" said Justin.

Late Tuesday afternoon we received an e-mail. The VA claims there was a miscommunication with Kaplan which caused the problem. Kaplan says it's investigating the issue.

We understand the VA did make some of the payments to Justin's school, but they still said he owed thousands of dollars. Justin says some of his other buddies in the service are going through the same situation.

If this is happening to you, call me at 1-877-51-JESSE or drop me a line at GetJesse@king5.com.

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