Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Closer Look at the Gift Horse

Not everyone has been impressed with the VA's too little, too late response to the newest GI Bill misadventure. Jonn from This Ain't Hell brings up salient points about the implementation side of the $3000 dollar payout:

To get your partial payment of your GI Bill benefits which you earned and filed for months ago, you have to go to one of 57 Regional Offices.

I went to SUNY Oswego - my regional office was Buffalo. A four hour drive each way. But not to worry, the same VA who couldn’t get your benefit to you on time will send representatives to your school to arrange transportation to the regional office. How dependable will that be?

I can schedule buses, for Pete’s sake - the veterans don’t need an eight hour bus ride (how many buses will be late, and how many veterans will ride for hours to find out their paperwork is screwed up, how many buses will break down?) they need their money that the government has been promising since before the last election!

A lot of folks were swept up in the news of the VA doing anything that they didn't consider how poorly this plan is being assembled (myself included). I'm one of the lucky few who have been paid under Chapter 33 (thanks to Squeaky Wheel Syndrome), but veterans who haven't been as lucky will need to make the trek to their regional office. Recently resurrected Joe from Fobbits Need Ice Cream 2.0 notes that he would have to skip school to get what is owed to him (note: the VA cuts you off like a frostbitten leg if you don't keep up good grades). Now, I'm no student of the inner workings of government bureaucracies, but I have two questions:

1. Why can't the VA send the checks through mail or direct deposit accounts they already have on file?

2. Why can't any VA facility cut a check?

I don't think of the VA as a health care and benefits distribution service. I think of them as a claims denial service. This action seems to weed out any of those veterans unwilling or unable to make the long drive to their regional office. God help you if you live out in the sticks or don't bring the proper documentation. The more I look at this eleventh hour peace offering, the more it looks like a dead fish.


Steve: The Lightning Man said...

Dude....they spent the money. It bought fancy jets for Nancy Pelosi; put up a pay raise for Congress, including that scumbag Harry Reid who said the war is lost and the surge has failed; it bailed out banks and mortgage lenders and the auto industry so that the Gubmint could nationalize them; and it bought Wagyu Beef for the Obamunist In Chief.

I'm in your corner. I'm not some left-wing kook with an axe to grind against The Man. I'm a fellow veteran who hates to see each successive generation of soldiers screwed out of their benefits. This current administration is insidiously socializing our country and stealing your money to do it...

Tom Goering said...

All this will do is slow down the normal payment even further, I figure it has to be the same people processing the information.

Everyone should also apply for Pell grants - on top of your GI BIll, you may be surprised how much you can get and how fast it comes.

Joe said...

Pell Grant and a credit card is how I start every semester. Any VA assistance after that is welcome, but usually unexpected. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, uh, can't get fooled again.

Unknown said...

Here's the real explanation: The VA is temporarily short-handed while its staff members are training all the new government employees who will be administering our national health care plan.


CI-Roller Dude said...

The funny thing is (in a sad way)...the "poor" in Calif can go to a community college and ask for all kinds of finc aid...and get it before school starts...and get book grants and all kinds of shit...and then fail all of their classes, then come back again and do it all over again...and they expect the free cash to be there on time.
But, us Vets who follow rules and are used to waiting in lines get screwed. If I had known about the free money for "poor folks" in CA, I might have skipped using my VA money...the poor folks got more than I did to.
Go to your finc aid office and tell them you are a recovering crach addict who just got our of prison...you'll get all kinds of money right now.

Anonymous said...

Keep fighting the good fight Dude, and getting the word out on this BS.