Some veterans could receive refund of unused benefit

From staff reports

Post-Vietnam War military veterans who did not use all their Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) benefits might be entitled to a refund of up to $2,700, according to Clarion County Director of Veteran Affairs Rodney L. Sherman.

VEAP was a voluntary, contributory educational assistance program that was available to members who entered the military for the first time between Jan. 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985. The program was closed to new enrollments on June 30, 1985, when a new program was implemented.

Sherman said the federal Department of Veterans Affairs has determined approximately 96,000 veterans could be eligible for a refund of their unused VEAP contributions totaling up to $2,700, but VA only has contact information for about 25% of them.

In general, veterans have 10 years from their date of discharge to use their education benefits. Some ineligible veterans still have unused contributions and are entitled to a refund.

Veterans potentially eligible for a refund would have: entered active duty between Jan. 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985; contributed to VEAP while on active duty and before April 1, 1987; not used all their contributions; not been dishonorably discharged; completed 24 months of continuous service or have been discharged early under certain circumstances.

Anyone unsure of their eligibility for a refund or whether they participated in VEAP, should call the Education Call Center at 888-442 4551, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Veterans who believe they are entitled to a VEAP refund should contact Sherman at 814-226-4000, ext. 2601, to set an appointment to file a claim.