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.