In a notice recently sent to schools, the Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for more than 115,000 veterans who may be owed refunds of up to $2,700 for their GI Bill contributions. That means more than $300 million belonging to veterans could currently be unclaimed.
The Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program, or VEAP, was a precursor to the Montgomery GI Bill and was available to active-duty military members who served from Jan. 1, 1977, through June 30, 1985.
The VEAP program required participants to contribute up to $2,700 of their own money to the program, which the government then would match with $2 for every $1 a service member contributed.
However, veterans who participated in the VEAP program and used only a portion of their GI Bill -- or who didn't use it at all -- may be due a refund of their original $2,700 contribution or of the unused portion of it. Since the VEAP program closed to new participants in 1985, the VA may be attempting to close out the program, which hasn’t paid out any benefits in a number of years.
The VA is trying to locate veterans who may be eligible for the refunds. The next-of-kin also may receive the refund if the veteran is no longer living. The letter notifying schools of the refunds was posted to social media.
Veterans who believe they may be eligible for a refund of their VEAP contributions should contact the GI Bill hotline at 888-442-4551 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time. Veterans living overseas should call 001-918-781-5678 for assistance. There is no deadline for claiming the unused funds.
Vets also may contact the VA online via the GI Bill Help Portal for assistance.
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