"Calling All Hands"

In preparation for another round of GI Bill claims this upcoming Spring the VA has asked outside contractors to submit proposals on how they could assist the VA in accelerating the processing of GI Bill claims. These contractors would provide temporary personnel, expanding the pool of claims processors sorting through the nearly half a million GI Bill claims expected this Spring. More processors will likely mean shorter wait times for veterans attending classes. The VA would train these contractors and only actual VA employees would make final benefits determinations. Read the VA's release below.

We are pleased to see that the VA is making adjustments to plan for the upcoming influx of claims. We look forward to hearing a more long term solution so that, moving forward, veterans are not forced to wait for their well earned benefits. Every day that student veterans have to wait for their education awards and living allowances is another day that they cannot commit their full attention to their education. We urge the VA to continue to find innovative immediate and long-term solutions to this problem . We will continue to work closely with the VA to ensure that new program is implemented successfully. For the latest developments on Post-9/11 GIBill implementation, check the GI Bill Wire.


VA Seeks Temporary Contractor to Help Process Education Claims

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2009) - On Oct. 21, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a solicitation for temporary contractor support to assist in processing the increased volume of education claims received since implementing the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.

"This contract will assist VA in delivering education benefits to our Veterans as quickly as possible," said Under Secretary for Benefits Patrick W. Dunne. "Veterans are depending on VA to provide the benefits they earned through their service to our nation. We will do everything in our power to minimize delays for our Veteran-students."

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect on August 1, 2009, has generated an unprecedented number of new applications. When combined with the standard high volume of school enrollment claims in August and September (normally, the busiest months for education claims), the number of claims has exceeded anticipated levels.

The contractor will provide its own work site and personnel to perform claims processing tasks. Contract staff will validate enrollment information provided by schools and provide recommendations on claim status to VA personnel, who will finalize claims decisions and generate payments (if applicable).

All work will be reviewed and authorized by VA personnel. VA will provide training on security and claims processing procedures. The contract personnel will assist in handling the least complex cases, which allows for rapid implementation of this initiative.