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NE FL veterans in school worried about G.I. Benefits not being there

While Congress continues debating over what to do next, local veterans continue worrying about the personal effects of the government shutdown.

And with no end in sight, WOKV News is hearing from the University of North Florida that some veterans returning to school on G.I. Bill payments are worried about keeping up with their bills.

“One way or another, everyone will be affected,” says Richard Carey, a Military Transition Coach at UNF.

Carey says students on the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill already have this semester paid for by the government, but they may not receive their November first housing stipend.

“So you’re talking about 1,311 dollars that they will not receive if the shutdown continues,” he says.

And if the shutdown continues for a few more months, he says some tuitions may not be paid for Post 9/11 G.I. Bill students, essentially halting their education.

Carey says other veterans at UNF who receive benefits under other G.I. Bills (such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill) still rely on their benefits to pay for rent, food and other living costs.

“They survive on that, and that’s what they need,” he says.

Matthew Brandenburg is a community health major at UNF after serving six years in the U.S. Navy.

He says his benefits go towards his primary bills, and if he doesn’t get them next month, he’ll have to start leaning on his wife, who’s also pregnant.

“I’m definitely worried about it,” he says.

And if the shutdown lasts for a few more months, he says he’ll have to pick up another part time job to bring in extra cash.

“I hope it never comes to that point,” he says.

Brandenburg says he feels that Congress is using veterans as “bargaining chips for whatever it is that they’re doing.”

He says education is a benefit that all veterans have earned for the service they’ve done.

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