Paycheck Chronicles

GI Bill Fixes Might Help and Hinder

Everything in life comes with some sort of cost, and changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill are no different.  The adjustments made to the Post 9/11 GI bill haven't even all become effective yet, and Congress is already looking at changes to the changes.  The Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) has warned Congress that additional modifications to the already stretched system will likely result in backlogs such as the ones experienced by GI Bill recipients during the last overhaul in 2009.

The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act (GI Bill 2.0) created a nationwide maximum tuition payment of $17,500 per year and this change is set to become effective 1 August 2011.  As the result of this change, veterans, active duty members, and active duty spouses who are currently attending schools whose tuition exceeds this amount will be forced to change schools or be responsible for the cost difference.

In an after-the-fact figuring of the potential hardship, Congress has introduced two bills that will grandfather the changes for students currently using the GI bill at a more expensive university.

Keith Wilson, director of education service for the Veteran's Benefits Administration, has spoken out against the proposed legislation on the basis that the GI Bill payout system is already stressed and that any further changes will inevitably create more delays and problems..  In a statement to Stars and Stripes, Wilson says:

"This will negatively impact our ability to deliver timely benefits during the crucial fall enrollment period.”
Wilson has presented his testimony to Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity earlier this week.  The sub-committee acknowledged the department's concerns but was undaunted in moving the H.R. 1383 Restoring G.I. Bill Fairness Act of 2011 to the full House Veterans Affairs Committee, who is expected to take up the legislation as early as Thursday of next week.

A similar legislation has been proposed in the Senate in the form of S. 745.  It was referred to the Committee on Veteran's Affairs on 6 April and has not yet been considered by the committee.

You can follow the progress of the legislation by clicking on the bill number in the text above, or by using these links:  S. 745 H.R. 1383

It will be interesting to see if either of these pieces of legislation are passed, and how the GI Bill payment system will keep up.  Yet another reason to get Back to Basics and create an emergency fund!

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