Thursday, September 10, 2009

New GI Bill Snags: Really, Is This What We Fought For? (Updated)

Army of Dude has a post up with some answers to those GI Bill questions that aren't answered anywhere on the VA website. Everyone, I warn you before you go there to read, sit down, and make sure there are no small children around, because you're going to want to curse loud and long after you see it.

Most of my issues relate to the housing thing. Why is this a big deal? Well, I'm a single mom who hasn't gotten child support for four years. Not exactly rolling in the bucks. Once I get out and start going to school, whenever that is, I doubt things will be improved by my no longer receiving a steady paycheck. And like AOD notes, the people you rent housing from are notorious about wanting to be paid /before/ you actually live there.

The other item that seems like it's going to be absolute shite is the fact that the VA is going to be coming up with a magical number of days of school you need to be enrolled for in a month before it estimates you as worthy of receiving full housing allowance that month. I'm sorry, VA, maybe you live in Magic McShinyHappyLand where the fact that your budget is going to wildly fluctuate depending on your school schedule is not a problem, but the rest of us don't. Veterans are the group who can least afford to be fucked with this way, and it's going to play merry hell with the scheduling.

Army of Dude's a little more positive about this than I am. Part of this is because AOD is a little bit more positive a person than I am (you hear that, unicorns, migrate over that way now). Part of this may also (I'm not sure) be because AOD wasn't walking the halls of Congress stumping for an improved GI Bill before it was a twinkle in Jim Webb's eye. And he may not have had the experience of having politicians look him in the eye and say, "Don't worry, we're going to take care of you."

Shinseki, where the hell are you on this? Dude, I'm willing to forgive you for the beret. I AM WILLING TO FORGIVE YOU FOR THE BERET. That's major. I have hated the beret for the past eight years with an unholy passion. But I'll forget about it all. Just do your damn job, please. Fix the VA. I promise, I won't ask for anything for Christmas ever again, especially not a pony.

Got some clarifiation from Army of Dude, who's a gentleman and a scholar. He has clarified that the issue of how many days is how many days you are enrolled for that month, not which days you actually attend class. I'm still not thrilled with the way the GI bill is being implemented, but that makes me want to beat it over the head with a blunt sledgehammer a little less. Also, he has been on the GI Bill thing as long as I have, and I am a jerk for assuming otherwise. He put it more nicely, of course. It's that whole gentleman thing.


Alex said...

Thanks for the hat-tip Selena, but my anger over this issue hasn't dissipated since the moment my certifying official told me "I don't know" to every question I had. I've been cheering this bill on since January 2008 and yes, I looked Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb's staffer in the eye when they told us "sit tight, we'll get this done for you." I've been invested in this for nearly two years now. I'm mad as hell it has taken this long to implement, and with these problems! It has screwed my friends out of a lot of money and peace of mind. This isn't some issue I just latched onto last week; it's been a slow burn ever since Bush threatened to veto and a senator from Arizona tried to kill it with his own shitty legislation. Now that I am in school and dependent on the housing allowance, it has gotten pretty real for me. Though I'm still fuming, I owe a bit of restraint to an official who took a lot of time out for me to answer questions from you and other veterans when he very clearly has a lot on his plate.

Army Sergeant said...

I didn't mean any kind of suggestion that you just jumped on the bandwagon, Alex. Sometimes my fingers move faster than my brain. If you have been that invested in it for that long, my respect for your restraint shoots up to superhuman applause. I definitely understand why you have it, I'm just not sure I could manage it-especially what with the way you're currently being screwed by it.

Anonymous said...

What do you do?