VA Takes Action to Address Post-9/11 GI Bill Concerns



Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill was enacted in 2008, VA has issued approximately $17.24 billion in benefit payments to 702,576 individuals and their educational institutions. And while it got off to a bit of a challenging start in the fall semester of 2009, VA has since developed and implemented new technology to improve and enhance the processing of Post-9/11 GI Bill claims. This new solution has enabled VA to cut processing times by more than half. For the most part, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has been a resounding success, and it’s become the most generous education benefit for Veterans since the original World War II GI Bill.

But this semester we had an unexpected bump in the road that has impacted some Veterans.


To address that, Keith Wilson, the Director of VA’s Education Service has issued the following statement to those affected:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to providing timely education benefits to our Servicemembers, Veterans and their families. VA has received Post-9/11 GI Bill spring enrollments from over 400,000 student Veterans. Approximately 90 percent of these student Veterans have been paid, and VA continues to receive additional enrollments daily. Since its inception, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped over 700,000 student Veterans access the education and training they have earned.

We have heard from some Veterans who are experiencing delays in receiving their benefits for the spring term. This is not a nationwide issue, but we have received more enrollments than we had anticipated at one of our regional processing offices. VA apologizes for any delay or hardship for student Veterans, and we are taking immediate corrective actions.

VA has maintained steady and consistent response times for GI Bill claims over the last two years. When we identified this isolated delay, we devoted our resources and manpower to work overtime and address the issue immediately. We will identify any claims that are pending for terms beginning in January or February for special processing. We are increasing the use of overtime and adding additional resources to provide payments to these Veterans within the next 7 to 10 business days. VA is currently processing over 7,000 Post-9/11 GI Bill claims per day.

Veterans who have an urgent and immediate financial need because they are due education benefits that have not yet been paid should contact us. Veterans can contact VA through the GI Bill website.

What this means, essentially, is that we’ve now surged additional staff and resources to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. So if you know someone who’s been affected, please pass this information along. We appreciate your continued patience as we work through this, and as Veterans ourselves, many of us at VA understand what you’re going through.

And one more thing to remember: Students using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits must ask their school officials to complete an enrollment certification, which the school official will send to VA to confirm that they are taking classes, the number of credits, and the costs for tuition and fees. On average, VA processes these certifications in about 13 working days for a returning student. First time applications take 30 days on average to complete.

If you have thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave them below.

Author

Brandon Friedman

Comments

  1. Shauna Slattery    

    So what is the delay with Chapter 30 benefits? My paperwork was submitted to the VA from my school on 09Feb2012 and it is still being processed. I was told it would be another 6-8 weeks.

  2. crystal    

    This is not the first time this has happened this happened to my husband the VA NEVER fixed it for him he had to quit and now we r having to pa back close to 10 grand tried to get help and sent the VA everything they ever asked for and no one care they even went as far as taken his entire paycheck even after we made payment arrangements and like true government fashion no one cares what Ur problem is they get their paycheck regardless if you get yours or not even though is their mistake

    1. Raynard Ward    

      Same happened to me. It’s like they can care less when you’re done serving your country!

  3. UsmcGirl0281    

    What about the vets who got involuntarily switched from gi to post 9-11 and got screwed out of part or most of their gi bill? Happened to both me and my my husband. Everybody said there is no appealing it. Only congress can change the rules and obviously that hasn’t happened….

    1. Susie que    

      FYI u cannot be switched from the Montgomery Gi-Bill to the Post 9-11 gibill without ever applying for Post 9-11!!! I suggest ALL to quit applying for benefits that you have not researched & have no clue what it is that your even applying for. Post 9/11 is not going to benefit everyone!!!!!

      1. Mike Goodrich    

        You said it best Susie and once a decision is made it can not be changed, this should have been explained by someone during the election process.

      2. Craig Warnick    

        What always amazes me on these forums is all the independent experts. Thanks for the excellent advice, your knowledge of educational programs is heaven sent.

        1. Karen    

          It is a VOLUNTARY decision but once made, it cannot be revoked.

    2. Esther    

      UsmcGirl0281,
      When you first apply for your educational benefits through VONAPP, you choose which educational benefit you want to use, either the Ch 30 (regular GI Bill) or the Ch 33 (Post 9/11). If someone else submitted this for you, then this is probably why you don’t remember choosing this program. This sometimes happens if, lets say, you visit a for profit college and sign up to go to school with them (ie, ITT Tech, Devry, Univ of Phoenix, Kaplan, Westwood College etc – I don’t mean to put them on blast but just want to give some examples)They then sometimes act like they are doing you a favor and tell you that they will take care of all the VA administration paperwork for your to get your educational benefits started. To these for-profit schools, it does them no good for you to use the Ch. 30 benefits because this program gives the money directly to you, not to the school. These for profit schools want you to use the Post 9/11 benefits because when you use this program, the VA pays the school directly and also issues you a housing stipend. They can do this because they have your DD214 which has your social, DOB, and ETS which is all the information they need to initiate the benefits through VONAPP. I know a few veterans whose FPS school signed them up for the Post 9/11 without letting them know and then tell them thats the only VA program that the school accepts. This utterly disgusts me, it should by the VETERANS CHOICE OF WHAT PROGRAM THEY WANT TO USE, not the schools. I highly advise any veterans using their benefits for the first time to do some research and find out which program would suit their education goals, DO NOT GO OFF WHAT A SCHOOL TELLS YOU!!

      1. MW    

        In response to the statement “To these for-profit schools, it does them no good for you to use the Ch. 30 benefits because this program gives the money directly to you, not to the school. These for profit schools want you to use the Post 9/11 benefits because when you use this program, the VA pays the school directly and also issues you a housing stipend.” I must say this doesn’t make sense. Whether the VA pays the school or the student pays the school the bill still has to be paid and the school will get their money.
        Most schools, including for-profit which I work for, will inform the student that they need to apply and choose the best GI Bill for them. Many people blame the “for-profit” schools when the military/veteran student needs to do some research and take responsibility. I am also using my Post 9/11 GI Bill attending a “for-profit” institution. I haven’t had any problems with tuition payments, housing, or book stipend because I stay in contact with the schools SCO and check my e-Benefits. I stay proactive.

      2. Sgt Ty    

        Esther, I agree with what you said to the previous response. To give some clarity to the statement I worked for a “for profit” school, in which, the reason they want you to utilize the Post 9-11 benefits is because by federal law they (the school) have to generate a certain percentage of their own revenue. For instance, some schools may get 85% of their revenue from the government, then government says to the school then you need to come up with the other 15% for us to continue to allow students use financial aid at your school. At the school I worked at it was 90% government and 10% school. Whereas, one of the easiest ways to get that 10% is through military students because we have guarantee benefits that will payout as opposed to students making monthly payments. Lastly, to give clarity on the Chapter 30 vs. Chapter 33 (Post 9-11) it is illegal for a school to complete a VONAPP without the student consent. In fact, most school reps are trained to persuade students to apply for Chapter 33 because of ONLY THE BAH that comes along with it to make up their cash percentage. Students, please hear me clearly, you need to understand that if you are already using Chapter 30-DO NOT SWITCH TO CHAPTER 33 UNTIL YOU HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL OF THAT CHAPTER FIRST! For the simple reason, if you have six months left on Chapter 30 when you switch over to Chapter 33 ALL YOU WILL GET IS SIX MONTHS WORTH OF BENEFITS AS OPPOSED TO ONE 18 MONTHS (or whatever the number of months you have remaining). Chapter 33 just picks up the remaining time you have left on Chapter 30. Most people WILL NOT TELL YOU THIS because once you have exhausted all of your Chapter 30 THEN APPLY FOR Chapter 33 and you can get up to ONE YEAR OF CHAPTER 33 benefits. For the students who have never used any benefits then of course apply for the Post 9-11 because you will get all of your months you are entitled to with no problem. One other as well, apply for Pell Grant students even if the you are using Chapter 30 or Chapter 33. Everybody may not qualify for it, but if you do it is yours Pell grant is FREE most people know it as finanical aid or the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid). Dont let a school tell you that you cannot get your VA educational benefits and the Pell grant because you can. Hope these tidbits help you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Luis Concepcion    

    I studied on the GI Bill, finished part of my BS at, then the GI Bill funded almost my entire MS. Finally, when I thought I had exhausted all my GI Bill benefits, Post 9-11 GI Bill came in and added a few extra months. I was able to get half way on a PhD that I am now using student loans to finish.

    The VA continues to be a force for good in every aspect of the word, both health and benefits. This organization does so much good EVERY DAY to millions of American servicemen and women. It’s just extraordinary.

    Like the song goes I “thank my lucky stars to be living here today”…May God continue to bless this country…

  5. David    

    I haven’t received a VA payment since November of 2010, and I am still under the same program. It took me about 11 just for the VA to receive my work processed hours. The VA finally received my hours in October 2011 and here I am in March of 2012 waiting for a payment. Every time I call they never have any answers for you. I’ve waited patiently for 16the months and have still not received another payment.

    1. School SCO    

      For those waiting for your benefits and it has been over 30 days, check with your school SCO and let them look up your 1999 to see when the VA accepted the documents. The date will be on there. If all was processed correctly by the SCO then you can have accurate information to give the VA rep when you call. Some schools do not certify your enrollment until the end of the semester so they do not have to adjust your tuition and fees if you drop a class or it is a short session class(4-6 weeks long).

    2. Veteran like you    

      Every time you call…. If the VA would just split the phone unit to all 4 Regional Offices and allow vets to call into their ROs that know their claims best, things would run smoothly. Instead, the VA consolidated the phone to Muskogee, OK and they take the entire nation’s calls. Good management should realize that if the vet goes to school in the Buffalo (Or any of the other 3) RO area, then Buffalo claims processors should handle that veteran’s claims from soup to nuts. The confusion comes in when the claim is submitted to Buffalo, processed by St. Louis, then the vet calls in to Muskogee. Hmmm… Good management decision,,, I think not.

    3. Karen    

      Something is definitely wrong. Waiting for 16 months means you have been far too patient. You need to take the bull by the horns and start making some big time waves. When you call, make sure you get their name and summarize the conversation on a memorandum for record. Do that for every call. When you call, summarize to the person what the last person said with the date they said it and the name of the person spoken to. Every call, summarize every conversation with every date etc. After a couple of weeks of calling, your next step is to gather up all your memorandums and visit your US Congressman. Right now is a good time to make waves, election years are excellent opportunities to get things DONE.

  6. wilmac    

    What about the fathers who don’t use their GI Bill,but because they have 2 children,1 attending college,1 if lucky, will after this year. Refuses to split it? He gets paid 75,000.00 a year but pays the 1 child 124.00.monthly support,no help otherwise,besides insurance. She works FULL time and school full time. A responsibility he never taught her! Our tax dollars pay his salary,he can’t support his children properly? I contacted the Adjunct General,he basically laughed! What a shame on this man! Selfish!

  7. Kimberly    

    My paperwork was put in on NOVEMBER 1st of last year for this semester and I HAVE STILL HAVE NOT gotten ANY TYPE OF payment or even book stipend.

  8. jake31F    

    I was one of the first groups to start in Fall of 09 on the new bill and I can say that it has almost always worked perfectly. This semester tuition is taking an extra long time to come in but I am still getting my monthly allowance in the mean time. I am graduating in December with a BS in Poli Sci, a Minor in Arabic Languages Arts and a study Certificate in Middle Easter North African Studies. Uncle Sam helped me, time to help Uncle Sam again! ;)

  9. Laura Thomison    

    This GI bill is beneficial to all our servicemen and women! There shld be no threat to the perks they deserve for their time served to our great nation!!!!!

  10. Lisa    

    Already in mid-terms and still haven’t received anything from them yet. . . . Hoping it gets here soon, things are getting tighter and tighter for me.

  11. Not2chabby    

    After receiving 100% benefit for 3 years they tell me that there was a error and I was only supposed to get 60%, even though I had a med board and was released with a service connected disability. They then sent me a bill for tens of thousands of dollars saying that’s what I owe then for what I was overpaid. After 2 months of calling, a supervisor said they would waive the fees. That being said I’m still waiting for my 60% payment for this semester and their reasoning is because they weren’t ready for the influx of troops returning from Iraq. Oh and they still haven’t given me a valid reason why I got cut to 60% from 100%. I have received different answers from different VA operators and they all contradicted eachother.

  12. David Horrell    

    Every semester the VA finds a way to mess up my money. I have to make sure I don’t spend my last check of the semester because I usually am overpaid and have to immediately pay that back or Uncle Sam and his pimp hand of doom show up at my door. Besides Jan and Feb checks that are owed, the books I had to pay out of pocket have really helped me reach my goal of being a super poor college student.

    A few semester ago the VA authorized emergency checks for those who were deserved the checks due to the high volume of applicants. We walk in, talk for about 10 minutes, they cut you a check right then and there. Couldn’t do anything like that this time? Maybe not wait until 1/2 way through the semester to say, “our bad, we really do appreciate you guys but we’re all sorts of f’ed up.” Then again, after all the difficulties I’ve had with the VA since leaving the military…I’m just happy you didn’t take me around the corner, kick me in the balls and steal my wallet.

  13. LAROD    

    Could the GI Bill be a SCAM?
    It is a great program! I am currently using it and living off the BAH.
    There is something shaky about the program:
    1. Most Soldiers, especially Combat MOS’s join because an Education may be to dificult.
    2.After repetitive Combat tours will it be easier?
    3. Combat soldiers have great hope and anticipations for and Opportunity of a better life through a new start by education.
    4. When Combat soldiers try…problems may arrive: a. Financial b. concentration
    c. Anxiety d. Failing grades e. Partial loss of GI Bill funds f. AccumulaTed financial issues
    5. Does our Government BANK on our Combat soldiers failures?

    1. Karen    

      It’s certainly not a scam. It’s buying my daughter an excellent education at a private university. The fact that it’s even transferrable to dependents is one of the greatest benefits the Army ever gave me. Thank you America!

  14. Sean    

    I’ve never had anything but great success with the GI Bill. Part of that is my school, that pays my tuition up front, and then bills the VA after the fact, so there is no delay in my tuition being paid, but the VA has never been late paying my BAH or Book Allowance either.

    I understand that many people have had problems, including some of my buddies, but if you’re having problems, keep working at getting them solved. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  15. mark ramirez    

    what is the federal government going to do about the state of arizona charging students $2000.00 cash fee for using GI Bill starting fall 2012 .. This is a sick attack of the Vets and someone need to step in and speak up for us and fix this issue

    1. Karen    

      I was reading about that. Arizona HB 2675: “A student may not use any other source of public or private funding including grants, gifts, scholarships or tuition benefits or other types of funding administered by or through a university or an affiliate of the university,” the legislation reads.

      Students may still use outside scholarships, Pell Grants, student loans and other non-university related funding to make up that difference though.

      Your GI Bill or Pell Grant can be used to cover the $2000, that is, if you aren’t already maxing it out on the tuition anyway. I think you’re right though. Veterans should not be charged that fee. Actually, I would move to a different state and go to college there rather than pay $2000 to Arizona. Go somewhere that isn’t greedy!

  16. Vet    

    So me telling them that I have two kids and that I haven’t been able pay my rent for two months or that I can’t continue to pay for daycare so that I can actually attend school now and using every last dime in my savings to pay for food doesn’t qualify as an urgent need? Because I’ve told them that already as I was bawling because I’m so afraid. And they told me there was nothing they could do to speed up the process.

    I’m sorry but these statements mean nothing to me. I want to see my benefits.

  17. Bobby    

    Delays in VA benefits is nothing new. In fact, six months is the shortest amount of time it has been for the VA to issue a payment to me. On one occasion I started class in September and didn’t recieve payment until July and was subsequently notified that I had been overpayed and would not recieve further payment until the overpayment was returned. The last time I applied I contacted my congresswoman, six months later and after she made three inquirees and was assured each time payment would be made within a week, I did recieve payment. Now I understand that there are a lot of soldiers recieving the gi bill, but to my knowledge there is no educational institution that will allow a student to remain enrolled for six months without payment.

  18. Elvis    

    Ask any School Certifying Official and they will tell you what an administrative nightmare the Post 9/11 has become. Congress writes the laws, the VA interpret’s them and issues regulations. On 8/1/11 more Post 9/11 GI Bill regulations were issued. Break or interval pay was discontinued creating financial hardship for veterans attending school September to May and continuing for summer sessions. While they do use a month or two of their 36 months, in my experience it does not negate their finishing their degree without running out of their benefits. If the verage monthly BAH is $2100, think about how much money the government is saving. It’s always about the money.

    1. Esther    

      I’ve used both the Ch 30 (regular GI Bill) & Ch 33 (post 9/11) and have to say that the post 9/11 is more complicated than the regular GI Bill because you are relying on someone else to submitt your information to VA. A lot of new users of the post 9/11 aren’t aware that even though you may have received your VA eligibility letter and have started classes, NOTHING IS DONE ON THE VA’S SIDE UNLESS YOUR SCHOOLS CERTIFYING OFFICIAL SUBMITTS YOUR CREDIT HOURS FOR THE SEMESTER TO VA. If VA says that they don’t have any information about your education claim, that’s probably because you’re school Cert. Official hasn’t submitted it yet. The first time I used the post 9/11, my schools Certifiying Official said she was really busy and it took her 3 months to submitt my information to VA which was a nightmare, now when the semesters begin, I call her every other day asking her if she’s submitted my information to VA until I get on her nerves which results in her doing it right away so she does it so she doesn’t have to deal with me calling her.

      Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the VA’s fault if your using the post 9/11 and aren’t getting your money on time. Check with your schools certifying official, when they do submitt your credit hours to VA, you should receive a similar email to the one below stating:

      From: VA-ONCE@vba.va.gov
      To: Jane Doe
      Subject: Confirmation – Enrollment Information Sent to VA
      Date: Sun March 11, 2012

      An enrollment certification for the period(s) below has been submitted to the VA. 1/01/2012 to 5/01/2012 for Credit Hours: 10, Distance Hours: 2. This was submitted by a certifying official from the YOUR COLLEGES NAME HERE on 2/3/2012. Your claim will be processed in the order it was received. Please do not respond to this message.

      If you don’t receive this email, check with your schools certifying official first, hope this helps some of you guys using the post 9/11 for the first time.

      1. Karen    

        Interesting. I have never seen such an email in 24 months of my daughter using the Post 911 GI Bill. I transferred it to my daughter and she’s never seen it either. Now I’m curious as to WHY. Thanks for sharing that!

      2. Sgt Ty    

        To piggy back again on what Esther said your SCO can give you a print out from VA-Once (the system they use). On your print out it will have the date and time it was done. So, if you are calling the VA and they dont have a cert for you ask your SCO for a print out and on it will be a cert number. Then you call the VA back with that cert number and they can research better that way. Because you got to remember everything is downloaded in batchs with the VA.

  19. tim harbison    

    I would like to know where to locate the original documents for the post 9/11 GI bill. It was first introduced in 2008, I called to verify that I was eligible to receive the post 9/11 bill and all was good. I was entitled to receive the full benefit. Now in 2012 I am not eligible and can not transfer my benefits to my wife. I retired in 2003 from the army but I am also in national guard under title 10. I would like some answer instead of the run-around. I have become bed-bound and in multi-organ failure, my time is valuable. I want to transfer the benefits that was told to me by the veteran affair I was qualified for so that my wife can support whatever events occur.
    SSG Tim Harbison ret.

    1. Karen    

      I hope you get the benefits you deserve. Good luck!!

    2. Sgt Ty    

      Hello Tim. Your wife maybe eligible for Chapter 35 which is for dependents and surviors of veterans. Now, as long as your benefitst have not experied far as time frame on Active duty (because you have ten years under chapter 30 and 15 years under chapter 33 to use your benefits-whereas, you have at least one year left before they expire). You can complete an application for your benefits to be transfered over to her. Then once that is approved, then your wife can complete the VONAPP to get the benefits going in her name at the school of her choice. Hope this helps!

  20. Nate    

    This is a trend, stating what you have already done with big numbers works for EPR’s but in real life what matters is right now. You say if there is a problem goto this website, well that website sends you in circles. To be honest its easier to access help from the IRS, and that is saying something.

    You want a solution to your epidemic of to much cancelling and filing and reinstating students over and over? Make a flat rate, ie: 1/2 load = X amount per month, full load = Y amount per month plus zipcode. Why only pay us when we are actively in school, for those of us who take school fulltime, and rely on the GI Bill I not only for rent but for gas to even get there. The government acts like the students decide when they can and cannot attend class, why dock us pay because our school decides to have 2-3 week hiatuses between quarters?

    It’s always an interesting call when I have to explain why I can’t pay rent because of the benefits I should be entitled to can’t make it to me, and its ok because its not spread nationwide. (source?)

    Instead of focusing on what is already expected of you, why don’t you look at the big picture and instead of creating some whole new management system that cannot handle the load, replace the entire system with something that functions like it cares about its customer in some way shape or form.

    As though I am very grateful that I have this benefit to use, I also know what I did to get it and the position the military left me in after I was forced to leave. Any other business would be reported to the BBB and most likely some type of litigation would follow.

    Instead of giving us all the big run around, why don’t you just tell us when we are gonna get paid so I can pay my power bill and possibly not lose my house.

    P.S. This same thing has happened every start of every quarter, money is never there when expected, no notice is given, phone lines busy, and website vague and emails unanswered. It’s usually fine by the 2nd month in the quarter, but when you are late on the rent because the money doesn’t come, then it comes and its only half of what it was, oh then the book stipend that never came so you are already out of pocket money, unless you can get away without books for the first month. I mean really, use a little bit of common sense with a TINY bit of decency and stop thinking about how to get yourself out of the hole you dug, and how to help those who are desperately in need of RENT.

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