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VA temporarily loses some GI Bill records

Aug. 29, 2012 - 01:57PM   |   Last Updated: Aug. 29, 2012 - 01:57PM  |  
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Electronic records covering the Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility of student veterans in Ohio and West Virginia were temporarily lost during an adjustment of the claims workload between regional officials, but Veterans Affairs Department officials are rushing to prevent anyone from being affected.

Eligibility certifications were temporarily lost when VA shifted responsibility for processing Ohio and West Virginia claims from the Buffalo, N.Y., regional office to the St. Louis regional office.

"As electronic records were transferred from Buffalo to St Louis beginning in late July, a system problem occurred that affected some Ohio and West Virginia veterans with pending enrollments received between July 24 and August 9," said Josh Taylor, a VA spokesman. "No claims from any veterans have been lost."

Taylor said VA expects to resolve the problem "within the next 10 days."

If VA was still using paper records to process GI Bill claims, the missing certifications could have been a significant problem. However, Post-9/11 GI Bill records are stored electronically, so a backup was available when the files went missing in the workload transfer.

Processing original Post-9/11 GI Bill claims is taking an average 28 days for the fall term, and supplemental claims are taking an average of 18 days, VA officials said.

This is not the first GI Bill problem involving the Buffalo office.

In March, VA officials reported that the office was seven weeks behind on processing Post-9/11 GI Bill claims for the spring term, leading to delays in hundreds of payments. That situation was handled by assigning extra people and approving overtime hours to handle the flood of claims that comes at the start of a term.

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