Miami Herald: VA tells Senate it's working to fix glitches in new GI bill

WASHINGTON — Veterans trying to get an education under the new GI bill face delayed checks, erroneous payments and uncertainty about what their actual benefits are, officials told a congressional committee Wednesday.

Testifying before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs officials acknowledged problems that have characterized the initial eight months of the overhaul of the original Montgomery GI Bill. Glitches were expected in the beginning, but they need to be fixed, officials said.

“A fellow veteran ate canned beans and sardines three meals a day for an entire semester trying to scrape up gas money for his wife and children back home” because he didn’t know when his next GI bill check would arrive, said Marco Reininger, a veteran now enrolled at Columbia University in New York.

Called the “most sweeping change in post-service education benefits since World War II” by Robert Clark, an assistant director for personnel and readiness at the Defense Department, the Post 9/11 GI Bill has added incentives to recruit and retain troops. Among them, certain service members can transfer their educational benefits to a spouse or child.

The newest iteration of the bill reflects the reality that U.S. forces are volunteers, unlike the conscripted forces of World War II, Clark said.

Read the whole article >>