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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Update: Living Stipend Make-Ups in August

Yesterday, Military Times reported that VA will automatically issue living stipend make-up checks in August to veterans who received inaccurate payments for the spring semester. Veterans will not need to apply for the updated payments.

By law, VA was obligated to update its living stipend payments to conform to the new Department of Defense Basic Allowance for Housing, of BAH, payments on Jan. 1. However, VA cited shortcomings in its IT infrastructure for the spring semester and chose to ensure that all enrolled veterans in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill received compensation, rather than adjusting the existing payment model after facing issues with the program's roll-out in the fall.

AMVETS leaders have been closely monitoring the implementation of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and calling for improvements to make the benefit more equitable. AMVETS also spearheaded recent efforts to commission federal grants for student-veterans' "centers of excellence" on college campuses nationwide, offering student-veterans all the tools necessary to succeed in the academic environment.

Department of Education is currently accepting grant applications from colleges and universities interested in commissioning such centers as part of the $6 million pilot program.

When news of G.I. Bill payment delays surfaced, AMVETS leaders were concerned that the hassles would foster attrition among student-veterans experiencing financial hardships as a result of the delay. Fortunately, AMVETS partner Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran, or SERV, reported that attrition rates among many of the nation's student-veterans were negligible in the first academic year of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, with many schools actually seeing a spike in veteran enrollment between the fall and spring semesters.

VA plans to have its automated Post-9/11 G.I. Bill claims system operational by December, ensuring that payment delays and other hiccups in the enrollment system are eliminated. AMVETS leaders will continue to monitor VA's implementation of the new system to ensure timely and accurate delivery of the landmark benefit.

American Veteran will continue to follow implementation of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and continuing efforts by the veterans' community to ensure timely, accurate and equitable delivery of the benefit.

(Image: VA's official logo for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.)

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