Post-9/11 GI Bill going smoothly, VA says

By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jun 25, 2009 15:40:12 EDT

Department of Veterans Affairs officials expressed confidence that the Aug. 1 launch of the Post-9/11 GI Bill will go smoothly, with the first benefits checks to be cut by the Treasury Department on Aug. 3.  Testifying Thursday before a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee panel, the VA’s education service director said about 84,000 applications have been received, with 47,000 already processed and awaiting final certification of enrollment and calculation of tuition and fee payments.  Keith Wilson, the VA official responsible for the program, is optimistic partly because a test of the accuracy in processing claims found 92 percent were done correctly, and most of the errors “were fairly benign.”  “There was no situation when anyone was declared eligible when they were not and vice versa,” Wilson said.  The picture sounds a little too rosy for some lawmakers.  “I think I would feel more comfortable if VA came to us with problems,” said Rep. John Boozman of Arkansas, ranking Republican on the veterans’ affairs subcommittee on economic opportunity. The panel asked Wilson and other officials involved in implementing the new education program for a status briefing.  Wilson said one potential problem — a tidal wave of applications — has not happened, for reasons that are unclear. VA officials anticipated 460,000 people would use the new GI Bill this year, including about 328,000 for the fall semester. After some initial problems, VA is processing more claims each day than it receives, he said.http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2009/06/military_post911gibill_implementation_062509w/

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