This morning the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs will listen to testimony from VA administrators on the progress of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill implementation. The hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building Room 418 at 9:30 a.m.
Veteran Benefits Administration Director of Education Services Keith Wilson will testify on recent progress in developing a digital education benefits processing system, the ongoing recoupment of emergency living stipend checks, and status of the benefit roll-out, including the issues faced during the fall semester.
Yesterday, Military Times reported that living stipends for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill would not be adjusted to the 2010 rate until this summer. VA has acknowledged that technological limitations under the current system are to blame, but that all veterans entitled to back pay will receive it this summer and those whose living stipend rates would have decreased will not be required to pay back the difference.
VA said that it has been transparent about this potential shortcoming for months, as VA focused on delivering benefits to all enrolled veterans, rather than attempt to adjust the living stipends in the midst of the program's roll out.
From the time VA was tasked to deliver the new benefit, VA officials acknowledged that there could be technological hiccups until the final IT solution could be activated in December 2010, and that it was more important to ensure all enrolled student-veterans were processed into the system and receiving timely payments. To date, VA says that all claims have been processed for enrolled student-veterans and that all payments are up to date.
American Veteran will follow this morning's hearing closely. Check back later for updates.