Rep. Bacon Issues Statement on GI Bill Payment Delays
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week the House Veterans Affairs Committee held the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to task during an oversight hearing regarding GI Bill payment delays.
During the hearing, the VA testified that payment delays were in large part due to the challenges posed by endeavoring to develop new software on an infrastructure that was not originally designed to perform the task required. Challenges posed by the law’s provisions caused the VA to suspend submission of claims in certain instances. Later, when the VA notified students and School Certifying Officials (SCO) to submit all claims for processing, the VA experienced a large increase in claims that normally would have been received and processed over a 6-month period causing a significant backlog.
Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) today issued a statement regarding these delays:
“There is no commitment more important to our country than the solemn vow we have made to the men and women serving in our armed forces, our veterans, and their families. We are indebted to them for their sacrifices to defend our nation.
“While I am proud of the accomplishments of the 115th Congress and the passage of over 80 veterans’ related bills, over two dozen of which have been signed into law by the President, it concerns me there continues to be excessive GI Bill payment delays. It also concerns me the VA remains unable to properly implement the necessary changes to its system as outlined in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, or the Forever GI Bill, signed into law on August 16, 2017. The Forever GI Bill expands access to GI Bill benefits and increases funding. However, the legislation is meaningless without proper implementation. Anything less than full and proper implementation is unacceptable and a breach of our duty to those that served our nation.
“It is critical that the VA implement the Forever GI Bill in a way that is consistent with Congressional intent, so veterans can receive their benefits in a timely and consistent manner. Implementation of the VA’s modernization plan, including the establishment of lessons learned, will minimize future obstacles and enable the VA to fulfill its obligations to our veterans.”
While it is anticipated that the pending claims inventory and delayed processing will persist through the end of the year, the VA developed a mitigation strategy that includes additional hiring, mandatory overtime, and increased bandwidth capacity at some processing locations.
Veterans in the Second Congressional District who are experiencing these delays should contact Rep. Bacon’s District Office at (402) 938-0300 for assistance.