Veterans face delays when applying for education benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), making it more difficult for them to receive an education after leaving the military, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed last week.
And [emphasis added]
veterans lack information on the timeline for receiving their GI benefits and face a backlogged call center at the Department of Veterans Affairs when they have questions, on top of delays in actually receiving the benefits.
It took the VA 31 days on average to process a new application for GI benefits under the post-9/11 GI bill in fiscal year 2012, 8 days longer than the VA’s goal, while it took the VA 17 days to process benefit payment claims, 5 days longer than the VA’s target.
Those might seem like trivial delays, until you have to live through them. I was a beneficiary of an earlier GI benefit program, and at the time the money was the difference between bankruptcy and paying bills—like tuition, books, etc—which is what it’s like living paycheck to paycheck. A day’s delay can be a disaster, not just 8, or 5 days.
More, this is in addition to the VA’s existing disability claim arrears.
Of the nearly 900,000 pending disability claims, nearly 600,000 are backlogged, meaning they have been waiting for over 125 days. The average wait time is between 270 and 330 days, depending on how you calculate the figure, while the number of backlogged claims has risen by 2,000 percent since 2009[.]
But the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki, says progress is being made in the dysfunctional VA, and Shinseki is an honorable man—so are they all, all honorable men in the VA.
The GAO’s report can be seen here.