Monday, September 15, 2008

Concerns on GI Bill Changes

This summer Congress passed a widely anticipated GI Bill revision that was supposed to fix many of the problems that had been lingering since the mobilization of the military in late 2001. But it turns out there are some bureaucratic concerns with this version of the bill.

Because there will be so many changes, the old Veterans Affairs system may not be ready to handle the volume of requests it will receive after the program goes into effect on August 1, 2009. The VA contracted out an automated system and those rejected by the system will be handled by VA staff, but Subcommittee Chair Bob Filner asked a lot of hard questions about how this contracted system will handle the paperwork. Filner demanded that the system be demonstrated to be in working condition by March 1, five months before the VA is required to implement the new benefits.

This goes to show that proper implementation of laws is just as important as the laws themselves. If it takes too long for veterans to get their GI Bill reimbursements, the bill does little good in practice. The updates to the GI Bill are massive–many say this is the biggest set of changes since the program’s implementation just after World War II. The kind of oversight the veterans subcommittee is conducting keeps the administration on its toes, and setting early deadlines is key.

Cross posted on Pushback.

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