Some work-study vets wait weeks or months for VA paychecks

Colorado veterans Ashley Metcalf, left, and Morgan Sforzini surveyed VA work-study students about their paychecks. Colorado veterans Ashley Metcalf, left, and Morgan Sforzini surveyed VA work-study students about their paychecks. Ed Andrieski/AP

Many veterans participating in a work-study program with the Veterans Affairs Department while attending college have complained of late paychecks, according a report from the Associated Press.

VA created the program for veterans who are enrolled as full-time or three-quarter-time students and seek additional income. The students work up to 25 hours per week, usually helping other veterans with paperwork at VA offices, but sometimes they are assigned to hospitals and cemeteries.

The average biweekly paycheck is around $360 and typically is received anywhere from a couple of weeks to three months late, AP reported.

In a statement, VA said it recently lost three employees at a processing center in St. Louis,  but it is working toward a solution to send out checks more quickly. The department said it already has reduced the average processing time from 12 days down to five days at the regional office.

The processing office in St. Louis is one of four nationwide.

Several of the veterans interviewed by AP said they depend on the paychecks and VA’s tardiness has put them in dire financial situations.

“If I hadn't gotten [an] emergency loan, if that hadn't gone through, I would have gotten kicked out of my apartment for sure," said Loki Jones, an Army Special Forces veteran who served in Iraq and is now a student at the University of Colorado, Denver.

More than 10,000 veterans participate in VA’s work-study program. 
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