You would think that after four school years of handling the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the VA would have worked out the kinks to processing a benefits claim. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. According to Stars and Stripes’ Leo Shane, the GI Bill backlog is not only huge, it’s worse than ever.
Now, lets put this failure into perspective. When the GI Bill was implemented in 2009, there was no such thing as an iPad. I’m not an expert, but I have a hunch that developing an iPad is infinitely more complicated than processing a GI Bill claim. Now, in 2012, the iPad is in its fourth iteration, and helps make Apple the highest grossing retail stores in the US. While the VA is no Apple, they should at least be able to figure out how to process basic claims on time.
If you’re thinking of enrolling for the winter term, don’t get discouraged. There are resources out there to help tackle any problems the VA might throw your way. Before you do anything, take a look at IAVA’s GI Bill Checklist. Following those steps should help clarify the process and allow you to build some predictability into your GI Bill experience. If you are just curious about what the GI Bill will cover, you can head to IAVA’s New GI Bill Calculator--the only one of its kind--and find out how the GI Bill can work toward your educational goals.
All year IAVA has been tracking on issues many student veterans have with the for-profit school industry. While many for-profits are providing a good vocational education many are just in it for the money and have been preying on veterans for their GI Bill dollars. They key to not falling victim to predators is research. You can check out IAVA quick help article “Choosing the Right School” and use critical resources like the CFPB’s “Know Before You Enroll." If you want to learn more you can head to our defend the GI Bill campaign.
If you’re having GI Bill issues now, let us know. Head over to NewGIBill.org and Get Answers to your Questions. Our GI Bill assistance experts may be able to figure out where the trouble is and help you work through it. They also may be able to direct you to services that can fill the gap until the VA works through their backlog.
Tom Tarantino is IAVA's Chief Policy Officer and an Iraq veteran. Follow him on Twitter at @TomTarantino.