Soldiers of Misfortune

Veterans wait (and wait) for their GI Bill benefits

The VA's Bragg is confident his office can slog through the bureaucratic morass in the near future. He says that it's now taking the office an average of 43 days to handle first-time claims and 23 days to process continuing claims -- well over the office's targets of 25 and 13 days, respectively.

"Considering the extra amount of work that's come in, we've done a really good job of keeping this from getting out of line," maintains Bragg. "Once all of our new hires get trained up, we'll be at full strength to attack the next peak workload that will come with the fall enrollment."

But that's cold comfort for the likes of Navy vet Bellow. "I purely understand, but if you're estimating an increased amount of claims, you need to start bringing some more people in -- people are suffering," he says. "What are we supposed to do if we can't pay our tuition? Quit school?"

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