By JIM VINES
Aug. 1st marked the fourth anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The VA has issued approximately $30 billion in 9/11 GI Bill payments since its inception in August 2009 and has helped nearly 1 million service members, veterans and their families pursue their education.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most extensive educational assistance program since the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the GI Bill, was signed into law.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides comprehensive educational support through tuition, books and housing allowance in people with at least 90 days of total service after Sept. 10, 2001, or people discharged with a service connected disability after 30 days. Approved training under the GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational and technical training, on the job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs.
The VA is now processing benefit payments for currently enrolled students in an average of seven days, largely as a result of the VA’s ongoing transformation to electronic claims processing. The delivery of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits has been automated and processing time cut in half through implementation of the VA’s “Long Term Solution” an end to end claims processing system that uses rules based, industry standard technologies.
In April 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607 that established the Principles of Excellence, offering guidelines that promote student success under the program and ensure accurate information about institutions and their courses. Over 6,000 educational and training institutions have agreed to comply with these principles. The Principles of Excellence, further strengthened by Public Law 112-249, provides veterans with greater consumer education.
The VA is working with schools, community organizations and other partners to ensure beneficiaries have all the information they need to use their education benefits, including plans for all military personnel and veterans, designated points of contact for academic and financial advice at all schools, and an end to fraudulent and aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentation.
This summer the VA is launching new tools to help beneficiaries learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution. Tools such as “ Factors to Consider When Choosing a School”, “Career Scope” and “GI Bill Comparison Tool” are available online.
Contact a veterans service officer at the school being considered and for additional information go to www.gibill.va.gov. Take time and research diligently before making a commitment.
Speak to you again next week.
Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133.