GI Bill Problems
Some major issues with the new GI Bill (HT: LT Nixon). The Obama administration had better address this nonsense immediately, if not sooner.
From fobbits need ice cream too:
The post 9/11 GI Bill is fantastic if you are coming off Active Duty or have been a reservist long enough to earn 36 months of active duty time through deployments or other activations. For me, I only have 18 months of active duty time and the REAP (CH. 1607) is more money for me. If I could get it. Previously, I had CH 1606 which is the non-combat veteran GI Bill that was right around $500 with my kicker ($506 exactly if I'm not mistaken). With 12+ months of deployment time, I became eligible for the 1607 benefits which is about $800 with my kicker. To get this, you simply (SIMPLY) re-apply for GI Bill benefits through the VA for the CH. 1607. You relinquish your 1606 benefits and receive 1607 benefits, supposedly.
I say supposedly because I applied the day after we got back stateside for de-mob. I received a letter about three months later telling me I would be getting 1606 benefits. I re-applied again. I heard nothing for 5 more months. I got a letter telling me I would be getting 1606 benefits deposited in a bank account that was not mine. I called the VA number on the letter for issues and waited on hold for 39 minutes. The dude on the phone told me that I needed to apply for 1607 benefits on the website. A frustrated sigh and then I try to tell him that the GI Bill money will be going into a bank account that isn't mine. He asks me for my new information. Again, I insist that this isn't new information, it is MY information, as the # on this letter isn't my bank account number. He takes my SSN, name, new bank account information, and then asks me to verify the bank account number and routing number. I tell him this is impossible because this isn't my bank account, it's a bunch of asterisks and the last 4 of a bank account number that I don't know. He asks if I need time to find the information in my files. Privately, I wonder if this guy is a fucking retard or something. Possibly some sort of robot programmed to treat anyone that calls like an asshole until they hang up or maybe even just a brick wall. He gives me 30 seconds; literally, he says he has to terminate the call in 30 seconds to help other veterans if I cannot find the information. I tell him I guess I'll have to call back. I wait on hold for 39 minutes and spend less than one minute talking to this guy, and solve neither issue. 5 minutes later, I had updated all this information on the GI Bill website with no verification needed at all. The VA rep at my school had some "bypass all the stupid assholes and red tape" button on his fax machine that got my GI Bill upgraded in under one minute, hopefully. Attendance verification is at the end of the month so we'll see then. I'll assume I'll be stuck with my pockets turned inside out like all the folks that took a crap shoot on the post 9/11 GI Bill and got boned.
Army of Dude experienced similar difficulty.
Many student veterans are still dealing with issues that are systemic of a large bureaucracy where answers to common questions are lost in the shuffle. The first and last contact for veterans is the school certifying official on their campus. As evidenced in my previous post, the professionalism and tenacity of these officials vary greatly from campus to campus. Some give wise advice, some go the extra mile for the veterans they assist. Some, like mine, laugh at legitimate questions and wait until the last minute to certify enrollment. As this generation of veterans is painfully realizing, you roll the dice any time you interact with the VA system.Last week I had another opportunity to speak with Keith Wilson, the Veterans Benefits Administration Director of Education Service at the VA. I compiled a list of questions for him to answer, some from me, some from other veterans that have similar problems but haven't received satisfying answers.