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How Long Does It Take to Process a Post 9/11 GI Bill Application?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have asked several times how long it takes to process the application for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I have been told three different time lines and I’m not sure which one is right. I’ve been told 24 business days, 44 business days, and 74 business days. And this is just to process my application before I get my award letter. Which one is right and is there any way I can speed it up? I’ve been in school since august 24th and still haven’t heard anything from the VA.

A: First, I have no idea which time line is correct. Maybe all three are correct and it depends on the time of year you are talking about. I do know the VA gets overwhelmed with applications for the fall term because so many new students start school during this term. I would say the 74 days is closer to being right as it normally takes about 8 to 10 weeks (which would be 56 to 70 days) to process an application.

If you are asking if there is any way to speed it up, then obviously this is your first time in dealing with the VA. The wheels of the federal bureaucracy grind slowly, but steadily, so they are going to move at a constant, but slow pace. There is nothing you or the rest of us can do to speed up that process.

In their defense, they are understaffed, overworked and doing about the best they can with what they have to work with. Their software is outdated as it was designed to work with the Montgomery GI Bill, which makes one payment per month to each veteran student, and not with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which makes one payment to a school (tuition and fees), and two payments to a veteran student (housing allowance and book stipend) each month. So the implementation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill basically tripled their workload. They are supposed to get a new software package this year that will speed up the processing of everything. If you have not received anything after 10 weeks, then I would start calling the VA.

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