Dear Fellow Veterans and Colleagues,
I’d like to pass on a couple of issues. Information concerning the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the recent legislation signed by the President – the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also referred to as the “Forever GI Bill”.
First and foremost, our thoughts are with those of you who are experiencing the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey (and perhaps Hurricane Irma). If you are attending school on the GI Bill and your school was or is temporarily closed due to Hurricane Harvey, the VA considers your attendance continuous and your payments will continue as normal.
If you are using Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill) or Chapter 35 (Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program): As long as your enrollment was submitted by your school, no further action is necessary to receive continued payment.
If you are using Chapters 30 or 1606 (Montgomery GI Bill) or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP): Continue to verify your attendance until further notice as if your school did not close. This ensures continuation of your payments. Students may verify attendance using the WAVE website or by calling 1-877-VACERT.
If your school is open but you are unable to attend due to this event (e.g., displaced from your home), please contact your School Certifying Official as soon as possible to prevent possible overpayments.
Please contact our Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about your GI Bill benefits. If you are unable to contact us by phone, you can send us a secure inquiry on our website using the “Submit a Question” button.
As you know, a few weeks ago the President signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also referred to as the “Forever GI Bill”. This new law will implement sweeping changes to the GI Bill benefit programs that will enhance education benefits for Servicemembers, Veterans and their families. This legislation contains several new provisions, the vast majority of which will enhance or expand education benefits for Veterans, Servicemembers, Families and Survivors. I briefly discussed some of these changes in an email that I sent to you on August 17th, and shared that we have more work to do to determine how these provisions impact our beneficiaries.
As we move forward with implementation, we anticipate there will inevitably be questions from Veterans, dependents and stakeholders. As such, we have created a way for you to contact us regarding this new law. If you have questions regarding the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Assistance Act of 2017, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, please know and understand the size and scope of this bill (there are 34 distinct sections) will require significant resources and Information Technology (IT) changes/updates. We don’t have all the answers just yet but are working feverously to lay out a schedule and plan.
Again, please pass this information on to those who may be affected but unable to access email.
As always, thank you for your service.
Curtis L. Coy
Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, DC 20420
VA Core Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)