Family of veteran on the brink after VA benefits don't arrive

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 7:21 PM

AUBREY, Texas -- A North Texas mom says she’s working three side jobs because the Veterans Administration is four months behind in releasing GI Bill benefits to her husband, a Marine veteran who just came home from Afghanistan.

To cover the monthly rent, she sells jewelry at living room parties and cleans funeral homes at night.

"It's frustrating," said a tearful Tiffany Nichols. "I'm sorry. It's really frustrating."

Jerron Nichols, a Marine veteran just back in April from Afghanistan, took an apprenticeship as a utility lineman in June. As part of the GI Bill, Jerron is entitled to a housing benefit while he learns a trade. It's money the family counted on when it rented their home.

How far behind is the government?

"Almost five months," Tiffany Nichols said. "They owe us a little over $4,000."

Jerron's employer, a company called Willbros, told News 8 it has submitted all of his paperwork on time since June, and has confirmation from the VA that the documents were received.

In the meantime, the family's blown through their savings and are about to move in with Tiffany's parents. That might mean moving their five-year-old son to a new school district.

All while the housing benefit appears to be sitting in their online account.

“It's heartbreaking, actually,” she said.

The VA said it is dealing with a backlog of GI Bill benefit requests and wrote, "...we regret delays that may have occurred, and we will continue to process education benefits on a priority basis to complete action on any remaining enrollments as soon as possible."

For privacy reasons, they could not speak specifically about the Nichols complaint.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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