The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) identified potential Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly student housing allowance overpayments by analyzing nearly 10 years of participant data. The review focused on students who continued to receive housing payments more than 18 months after their latest tuition payment; received more than 36 months of housing payments; and had fewer than 365 days between each housing payment—all indicators of potential errors. The OIG found the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) substantially overpaid monthly housing allowances to 16 students, totaling about $961,000. These overpayments were a result of control deficiencies that allowed some payments to continue beyond the allowable limits prior to VBA taking corrective action. The OIG considered the number of individual overpayments to be minimal, as more than two million students were enrolled in classes using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits during the more than nine-year review period. VBA’s Education Service has added controls, such as a system update to prevent monthly housing allowance payments from continuing after the entitlement has ended. These controls have improved VBA processes and should reduce future risk of the substantial monthly housing allowance overpayments found in this review. They appear to have been effective, as there were no similar overpayments identified since the last control was implemented in June 2017, which was a non-college-degree job aid tool to help minimize payment calculation errors. The overall financial impact of the overpayments identified in this review was not significant to VA. However, the OIG encouraged VBA to implement measures to further reduce the risk of future long-term overpayments, such as monthly certifications by students. The OIG did not make any recommendations because VBA’s existing and planned controls appeared to address the errors found in this focused review. VBA concurred with the findings and agreed to consider additional measures.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Agency Reviewed / Investigated:
Submitting OIG-Specific Report Number:
Component, if applicable:
Veterans Benefits Administration
Type of Report:
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