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.


No Clear Fix for GI Bill Benefit Backlog

Nov 29, 2018, 09:09 AM
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Summary : VA officials fail to provide answers on when thousands of vets will get overdue GI Bill payments.
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On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said that it would push back until 2020 spring semester the rollout of a Forever GI Bill provision that dictated a shift in how the monthly housing allowance for recipients is calculated. The decision comes after complaints throughout the fall semester of housing payment delays and improper payments. The agency was supposed to have made the change on August 1.

VA officials said that until the rollout it would calculate the housing allowance based on uncapped Defense Department basic housing allowance rates.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie acknowledged when making the announcement that imposing the change during the academic year was "like flying a plane while building it, and that was unfair and frustrating to veterans and taxpayers."

Earlier this month, the U.S. House Veterans' Affairs Economic Opportunity Subcommittee held a
hearing to discuss the VA's handling of GI Bill claims.

Agency officials summoned to Capitol Hill told the panel that the delays in housing payments were not causing rampant hardships for student veterans, though at the same time they admitted thousands were still waiting for their stipends and the department had received credible complaints from veterans facing eviction, The Stars and Stripes reported.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), ranking member of the subcommittee, described the VA's response to the problem as "not very encouraging."

"I think you failed to account for the scope of the problem, minimized the problem and tried to remind us [the Veterans Benefits Administration] is doing great work in many cases," O'Rourke said. "But there's the very real problem that veterans who have earned these benefits are not receiving the payments they need to complete their education."

Throughout the two-hour hearing, lawmakers demanded specific answers, such as when the problems would be fixed and how much the situation was costing taxpayers. They received few clear answers, the Stars and Stripes reported. The hearing ended without the VA offering a cost estimate or a deadline for correcting the problems.

Lawmakers asked the VA to follow up in writing with answers to their questions on costs and a timeframe for the problems to be fixed.

Following the hearing, the VA confirmed that the official leading the implementation of the GI Bill expansion, Education Service Director Robert Worley, would be reassigned to a regional office in Texas, according to the Stars and Stripes.

Related Links

The Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes

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