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

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Live from Capitol Hill: House Veterans Affairs Committee Looks for G.I. Bill Answers

Yesterday, the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hosted a roundtable discussion among VA leaders, veterans' advocates, and educators to discuss persistent delays in Post-9/11 G.I. Bill (Chapter 33) delivery and potential solutions.

To date, 26,000 claims for Chapter 33 remain unpaid, as the fall semester draws to a close and bills for spring semester are due.

To read the Military Times story about yesterday's hearing, Click Here.

Though AMVETS did not testify, American Veteran was on hand for the discussion.

Student-veterans have commented on this blog repeatedly, desperately seeking assistance amid persistent delays.

At yesterday's round table, participants discussed the possibility of splitting the current claims process to expedite delivery of living stipends, while tuition and fees payments lag behind, or prioritizing processing for enrolled veterans. However, VA Director of Education Services Keith Wilson pointed out that this would not have an effect on the overall workload, still allowing veterans to fall through the cracks.

In August, AMVETS suggested emergency advance payments to aide veterans caught in the backlog, and VA implemented a similar $3,000 emergency check program in October. Unfortunately, this money is starting to run out for student-veterans still waiting for their first living stipend and tuition reimbursements.

AMVETS leaders will continue to monitor Chapter 33 implementation and make recommendations to VA and Congressional leaders in an effort to remedy the backlog. AMVETS service officers will also continue to make advocacy calls on behalf of veterans with questions about their pending claims.

Check back regularly with American Veteran Online for updates, and let us know what you think.

(Photos: Top: Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-S.D.), chairwoman of the subcommittee, asks questions to roundtable participants. House Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Rep. Steve Buyer (D-Ind.) and subcommittee ranking member Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) also played a key role in the afternoon's discussion. Bottom: VA Director of Education Services Keith Wilson answers questions about VA's efforts to remedy the Chapter 33 backlog. Photos by Ryan Gallucci.)

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1 comment:

  1. The numbers the VA seems to be feeding the public of how many are not paid yet are misleading. The processing times they have put out have been misleading from day one. They refer generally to processing time. They fail to mention that it will take 2-3 months before that process even begins after getting the claim. Pressure needs to be put on the VA to be upfront, honest, and an open book so that the veterans waiting for their claims know exactly what to expect and can plan for it! I am still waiting, was never able to get the emergency payment I applied for 3 times! My school has informed me that they checked on my claim and it has now moved to the "processing" status, but assured me not to get my hopes up. The data the VA sent them was that there were still over 200,000 vets waiting for their checks and that only just over 50,000 on the new program had actually gotten paid. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic! If they had been honest with us from day 1, maybe we could have mitigated some of the damage, but no! They are too worried about their public appearance! The VA is supposed to be looking out for the best interest of the vets, not themselves!