The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Post-9/11G.I. Bill Update: VA seeks to clarify delays; veterans still waiting for payments

Yesterday, VA Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Tammy Duckworth and Deputy Director of Education Services Lynn Nelson hosted a conference call to discuss Post-9/11 G.I. Bill payment delays and progress VA has made through the month of September.

During the call, Duckworth was apologetic for the communications gaps that have occurred over the last two months, ensuring those on the call that VA has made a concerted effort to properly disseminate information to affected schools and veterans.

However, when Duckworth and Nelson clarified the most recent figures on enrolled veterans and the number of pending payments, veterans participating in the call balked.

To date, VA claims that only 27,735 enrollment certifications have been received with 24,186 veterans receiving some kind of payment--a staggeringly low number compared to the 277,000 total claims for Post-9/11 G.I. Bill eligibility.

On the call, Duckworth acknowledged that veterans expecting checks on Oct. 1 may experience further delays, depending on when their school submitted their enrollment certification. Duckworth said many schools have waited until the add/drop date to submit certifications, meaning that veterans may have to wait an average of 35 days before receiving their first payment.

Duckworth also stressed the importance for schools to submit enrollment certifications as soon as possible, since no payments can be sent to the veteran until enrollment has been verified. Duckworth clarified that even if a veteran does not have a certificate of eligibility that the school can still verify enrollment with VA.

AMVETS leaders think the veterans' community will have a better understanding of the scope of the problem once the next set of checks are set to go out on Oct. 1. In the meantime, in an effort to improve communication between VA and potentially affected veterans, AMVETS National Legislative Director Ray Kelley has drafted a letter to VA's director of education services, Keith Wilson, asking VA to send direct correspondence to each veteran in an effort to stave off landlords and other creditors who may be expecting payments in the interim. To view the letter, click on the image below:


"We want to work with VA to ensure that veterans aren't held financially accountable for this delay, and a formal letter could help reassure private creditors that their money is on its way," Kelley said. "VA sent similar letters to colleges and universities, which seems to have worked for now. The last thing we want to see is a veteran who has done everything right evicted on account of these delays."

In the interim, American Veteran magazine editor Isaac Pacheco is experiencing his own G.I. Bill delays. Pacheco, who participated in VA's Post-9/11 G.I. Bill pilot program last spring while attending George Mason University, first submitted his G.I. Bill paperwork at the earliest possible date.

This fall, Pacheco is attending Georgetown University as a full-time graduate student. Georgetown submitted his enrollment certification on Aug. 12, and the university had credited Pacheco's account to reflect the pending payment. To date, no payment has arrived for either Pacheco or the school.

Pacheco called VA this morning to check in on his claim. While VA acknowledged that the proper paperwork had been submitted, payment "may not" be processed for another 6-8 weeks. This includes Pacheco's missing living and book stipends and tuition payments to the university.

As the story continues to unfold, AMVETS will be tracking the G.I. Bill delays. As always, American Veteran Online is eager to hear what you have to say on the issue.

2 comments:

  1. thank you for your continued commitment to veterans and their families. The frustration lies in that the instructions given to us have been followed as we are all too familiar with the "hurry up and wait" process. However, the fact that we cannot even get an answer from the 800 number provided by VA nor are able to check the status anywhere is quite frustrating.

    Again, thanks for all you do for those serving.

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  2. I took an oath for my country and all i have gotten back are lies,lies, and more lies. i have decided that i will not allow my children to serve in the military. i gave my life and God gave me a second chance. i sm so sick and tired of the lies and knowing that my fellow service members are hurting bad, too. shame on this administration and shame on the veterans administration. wall street is getting paid asap, when was the last time wall street, took an oath to defend and serve. aig got billions right away and we get put on hold, lied to, lied to some more, and told the va will back pay you. what the hell is back pay gonna do when your family needs to eat, rent needs to be paid. the va is quick to tell you, just be patient and concentrate on school. concentrate! if you owe the va, they will send you a letter notifying you that they will be taking in 30 days, but when the va owes you??? why cant we send the va letters stating that we intend to collect asap in 30 days or less!!! this system is a joke!! i will not allow my children to serve. nothing against the military, but i have been fighting the fight for more than 2 years know, and the lies, bs, and corporate bailout over first rate service for our veterans has angered me far too much. we deserve so much more. i put my life on the line high-risk assigments 24/7, anytime and anywhere. i wish the best to all of my fellow vets. may we soon see the light and get the respect and on time service that we all justly and rightfuly deserve. we all earned it and those that have gone on, gave the ultimate sacrifice with honor. for our sins. MAVLOD

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