The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” made several changes to VA education benefits. One of the 34 provisions of the law impacted how monthly housing payments would be made to Post-9/11 GI Bill students. To meet this requirement, VA needed a new IT solution.
In February, VA secured a contract with Accenture Federal Services (Accenture) to enhance software programs that would implement the IT changes needed to comply with the law. The “go-live” date was set for Dec. 1, 2019.
To ensure a successful rollout, VBA’s Education Service kicked off the first of monthly roundtable meetings between VA, Veteran stakeholders, and Accenture to ensure housing payments could be made in accordance with the law while being delivered efficiently and accurately.
The roundtable attendees included schools with large Veteran populations, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), and Veteran State Approving Agencies.
Here’s what we decided at the first roundtable:
- Housing payments will be based on the zip code of the main branch and extension campuses of a school
- Schools can continue to certify students; no need to wait for IT changes
- VA will build toolkits to help schools with messaging
And a few highlights of the Q/A session:
What will happen on Dec. 1?
VA will update its payment systems to current Post-9/11 GI Bill housing rates.
This law went into effect Aug. 1, 2018. What is the impact to students by implementing the change Dec. 1, 2019?
VA will email students explaining the housing payment changes. Those who were underpaid will later receive an adjustment; those who were overpaid will not be required to reimburse VA.
When will students receive retroactive payments?
VA will work with schools to create a solution that keeps payments to students timely.
Education Service will continue to publish updates on our progress toward the December rollout.
Veterans Benefits Administration’s Education Service delivers GI Bill® education benefits to Veterans, service members, and their families. Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped millions of Veterans pay for college, graduate school, and training programs.