One Veteran's Voice

20 December 2005

"The VA is grossly underfunded"

This afternoon I went down to the financial aid office at the University of Missouri to make sure that everything was straight with my GI bill. The GI bill pays roughly a thousand dollars a month, as long as you are enrolled in school. I will be starting school in January, and was hoping that I might start getting the money I was promised by the government around the same time. Unfortunately, after making sure all my paperwork was in order, the counselor warned me that I should expect not to get paid till March.

"Don't worry," she said, "If you get strapped for cash, the financial aid office offers short term loans for veterans."
"Oh good. Why does it take so long for them to start payment when the certification process is online?"
"Well, when they first came up with the online system I was excited. But you know what? When I click on this and certify that you are enrolled here and eligible for benefits, it transmits the data to Philadelphia. It gets printed out there, and mailed back to St. Louis. In St. Louis, a staff of eighteen people take that printed information and data entry it back into the system. Those eighteen people process all the VA claims in the mid-west, so they have a huge backlog."
"Wow," I exclaimed, "That's about the worst system I ever heard of."
"Yeah, the VA is grossly underfunded."

The insanity of it all still boggles my mind. The system is so inefficient that it's almost as if it is designed to be as slow as possible. The VA is underfunded and overwhelmed with claims from newly separated veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

This President cuts taxes, fights an unpopular war, and takes care of our veterans. Yeah, and he's going to pull a rabbit out of his ass for the second act. Americans are being misled.

So my first contact with the government institution that purports to care about me was a big downer. Luckily I expected as much.

By the way, if you want to help out with the whole tuition thing, click here.

Veteran, VA, Veteran's Affairs, GI Bill, Current Events

4 Other Voices:

Sara said...

NOT looking forward to my dealings with the VA. Thankfully, I have some family funds as backup until it kicks in. No wonder so many people don't use their education benefits.

12/20/2005 11:10:52 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

yeah, the number of forms and bullshit you have to put up with is almost not worth the money that won't pay for a four year education at any college I'm aware of. Almost.

12/21/2005 01:20:44 AM  
BadTux said...

Did you know that the VA used to pay 100% of tuition fees?

That was before Ronald Reagan, of course, who gutted the VA (and pretty much everything else college-related, including the Pell Grant and Vocational Rehabilitation programs for the poor and disabled) to buy a lot of pretty toys for an 18 division Army and 500 ship Navy (not to mention that brilliant piece of hangar queen obsolescence, the B-1 bomber, designed in the period 1971-1974 with early 70's technology for a mission role that no longer existed... upgrading hundreds of obsolete B-52 airframes to modern engines and avionics would have been much cheaper, and much more effective). I date the decline and fall of the American nation to this decision on Reagan's part, which has resulted in a generation of Americans who at best have vocational training rather than an education.

- Badtux the Educated Penguin

1/01/2006 03:33:28 PM  
Anonymous said...

Well, its going on month 3 for me and I have yet to receive one damn dime from the VA. This process sucks ass majorly! Why arent they hiring more people to process the influx of applications they receive? I've damn near cried and begged on the phone because I need my money sooner than later. They don't give a shit though. At first they told me it would take 6 to 8 weeks, the 8 to 10 now its 10 to 12 so good luck to all those starting out because you definitely have a long road ahead!

3/02/2006 12:42:22 PM  

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