Veterans & Service Members

AACRAO recognizes and honors the sacrifices these men and women have made and its members are proud to assist them and meet their educational needs. Veterans and students on active military duty and their families face special circumstances and challenges.

Changes in federal statute and executive actions have greatly promoted the expansion of services toward veterans and their families. Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed in 2009, close to 1 million veterans, service members, and eligible dependents have taken advantage of the educational benefits available to them. With the passage of more recent legislation, such as the Forever GI Bill in 2017 and the Isakson Roe and THRIVE Acts in 2021, there will be significant changes to military education benefits over the coming years.


Latest Actions

AACRAO recently hosted a webinar to discuss the implementation of veteran legislation passed in December 2020, also known as the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. This law will have a transformative effect on the mission of Education Service to provide ready access to, and timely and accurate delivery of, education benefits to Veterans, Service members, and their families, as well as further enable the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to empower GI Bill beneficiaries to achieve their vocational and career goals.

Other recent legislation introduced in both the House and Senate include important provisions to help ensure veterans can continue to receive their education benefits as well as technical corrections to the legislation passed last year.


Latest on the VA's Handling of GI Bill Processing

Dec 6, 2018, 11:43 AM
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Summary : Confusion continues over the Veterans Affairs Department's handling of reimbursements for GI recipients whose housing stipends are being underpaid.
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U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, says an official from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department has committed to provide Congress a detailed plan later this month for how it will reimburse student veterans who have been paid the incorrect housing allowance, Politico reported.

"I am encouraged that the VA is taking steps to fully identify and address the impacts of late or incorrect G.I. Bill payments for student veterans," Tester said in a statement after a meeting with the VA's undersecretary for benefits.

Last week, the VA said it would be spring 2020 before it would be able to implement a provision in the Forever GI Bill, passed last year, that changed how the agency calculates monthly housing benefit. The change had been scheduled to rollout on August 1, but a series of information technology-related issues led to a backlog in claims processing throughout the fall semester.

VA officials also pledged that veterans who received incorrect GI Bill benefit payments would eventually be paid the correct amount. Committee aides, however, said VA officials told Capitol Hill staffers last Wednesday that the department will not retroactively reimburse underpaid veterans due to the housing miscalculations once the system is fixed next year, reported The Hill.

The VA then released a statement Thursday saying it would rectify the issue and pushing back on reports that the agency did not plan to reimburse those who were underpaid.

"To clear up any confusion, I want to make clear that each and every post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiary will be made 100 percent whole—retroactively if need be—for their housing benefits for this academic year based on Forever GI Bill rates, not on post-9/11 GI Bill rates," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the statement.

In response, a bipartisan group of senators and a member of the House called for the VA's inspector general to investigate the allegations that the department would not reimburse veterans for missed or underpaid benefits under the Forever GI Bill, the Hill reported. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, signed the letter along with five Democratic and three Republican senators, as well as one Democratic congressman.

In their letter, the lawmakers claimed that the VA's "continued ambiguity" over the payments threatened "to erode" veterans' confidence in the institution.

The letter calls for an investigation into whether the VA intends to apply the August 1, 2018, housing stipend rates for retroactive payments to eligible beneficiaries, under what legal authority the VA would withhold retroactive payments based on the rates required in the Forever GI Bill, and how and when the VA will process retroactive repayments to eligible veterans.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) also sent the VA a letter Friday, along with 24 Democratic members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, seeking answers on how the agency seeks to resolve the issue.

Related Links


The Hill
Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • Federal relations
  • gi bill
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