Yesterday, I received several messages from Veterans about long hold times for our GI Bill helpline (1-888-GIBILL-1). The most common complaint was that education counselors were unable to be reached, and the earliest appointments for call-backs were for next week. I called the line myself and confirmed this was the case, at least yesterday. When rent and bills are due, student Vets often can’t wait a week.

We’re looking into the issue to find solutions, but in the meantime, here’s a couple quick solutions that may help get answers quicker.

The first is simply a matter of timing. I called the line this morning and was offered a 20 minute wait, as opposed to yesterday afternoon, when I couldn’t even get through to a person. Calling in the morning avoids the flood of Vets who are getting out of class or off work. The line opens at 7am central.

Second, give our secure Ask a Question page a try. You have to register first, but I’m told the response time is usually a few days. Not as great as talking to someone that day, but better than a week.

We’re working on the call volume issue, and realize it’s not a good thing. We’ll be sure to post an update on our progress.

Photo by mtouchton/Flickr

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Published on Feb. 7, 2012

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Views to date: 253


  1. david March 21, 2012 at 12:10 am

    How long from when your school certify you post 911 until the school get’s paid? I asked this because I got letters saying they sent the payment, but the school hasn’t recieved it.

  2. NJen February 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    The office is on Eastern Standard time, isn’t it??

  3. NJen February 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    btw… I didn’t find a complete answer to my question, so maybe someone here can help;
    If a student qualifies for both, the PELL Grant and the Post 9/11GI Bill does all of it go toward tuition, fees, food, housing, etc? or just up to the cost of tuition and fees? What if the book amount isn’t enough to cover all of you book expenses? Thanks for your help.

  4. NJen February 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I called this a.m. about 6-7 minutes after they should have been opened; their phone message said the ‘office is closed’, a call back would have been scheduled for ‘next week’, so I didn’t bother to continue. Started checking the Internet and websites for information I needed so I’ve been on the cmptr all day but have learned a lot trying to learn about the new Post 9/11 GI Bill for my son. I’ve read horror stories about late payments, documents not processes, verfication not done, etc.. Now I’m scared.

  5. Chris Castanon February 10, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Is there a way to expedite a Certficate of Eligibilty for Post 9/11 GI Bill? The mid semester classes start the first week of March and I might be running tight. Is it possible to get an over the phone check on the state of the process?

  6. carol February 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    If using the911 gi bill, when do u call to certify that ur attending?

    • david March 21, 2012 at 12:09 am

      You don’t the school does it for you each semester.

  7. Melissa February 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for acknowledging the wait time and working on a solution. I do get through most of the time when I try first thing in the morning and always receive great information and assistance from the VA education representative. Thanks again for what you do.

  8. Helen Budd February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I had the same experience last week when I tried to call. As a certifying official, I use the “Ask a Question” feature all the time and rarely call the Education Call Center. The advantage with “Ask a Question” is that you receive a tracking number and can refer to it if you need to follow up on the conversation later. I also place a hard copy of the processor’s response in my student’s file. Also, it is easy to attach documents to your message. The automated email provides an estimated reply turnaround of 72 hours, but it depends on the processors’ workloads at the time. I have often received responses the same day, and other times, it may be a couple of days, but I find it far more efficient to use this service because I can send my message and then move on to another task. I highly recommend it. On top of this, it is simpler to refer to a written response than try to remember what you are told over the phone. Sometimes, no matter how many notes you take while talking to someone, it can be difficult to decipher or remember all of the conversation later. With “Ask a Question,” you eliminate that problem, and can also reply to the processor if you need more clarification or if you have more information that you did not provide in your original enquiry.

    Note, however, that anything you enter in the subject line is not encrypted, so do not enter your VA file number or social security number (or even your name) in the subject line. The message body is encrypted, however, and in order to look up your case, the processor will need that information.

    Helen Budd
    VA Certifying Official/
    Staff Advisor, Cleary Student Veterans Association
    Cleary University (under construction, but the basic information is there!)

  9. Beth February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    The secure Ask a Question isn’t so great either. Response time is not a few days, it’s usually at least a week, and I’ve had it take longer than that.

  10. Jerry - Veteran February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Perhaps stating their open hours by the specific time zone. Then, instead of offering that you make an appointment a week out, you can stay in-queue and hang-up.
    The system offers you, at various (and at random) times, to either:
    1:) make an appointment or call back later.
    2:) stay on the line and wait, or call back later.
    3:) put yourself on a call back queue and keep your place in line.

    The problem is, you really can’t say that you will get one or the other at a particular time. I have called at all hours through the business day, and have received all three types of messages. If I get the first, I keep calling back until I get the second (Above).
    I do not believe that it’s a faulty system, instead that you are unable to receive the information that you need otherwise.
    the W.A.V.E. system worked well to allow veterans to see what was going on in their education benefits; whereas the Post-9/11 is all ‘hidden’ to the veteran. despite needing to ‘confirm’ your enrollment, the W.A.V.E. system allows for our questions as benefit receivers to generally be answered without the phone call.

  11. Welton Chang February 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I would like to speak with someone regarding the GI Bill and the length of time it takes for claims to be processed. It seems that progress has stopped as far as processing the claims in a timely manner and we’re seeing a regression to longer processing times. Since semester start times are known well in advance and GI Bill beneficiaries will submit claims in a predictable volume why isn’t there progress being made in processing claims?

  12. Susan C February 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Congratulations on the thoughtful reply to this question. However, I find the photo at the top of the page to be so shockingly bad a choice that I forgot why I clicked on the link to begin with. Four white guys in a mid-20th-century conflict? Really? And you wonder why some people think the VA doesn’t get the problems of women, recent veterans, et al. It’s a great photo in a historical context, but absolutely the wrong choice for the standalone header on an entire blog intended to provide informatio and help for all veterans.

    • Mike February 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      First learn how to spell *at, *all, second no one cares about women, you’re not even considered real combat troops

      • Kate Hoit February 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm


        Why don’t you learn how to use punctuation? And while you’re at it, read up on all the things women have done in Iraq and Afghanistan–not to mention all the other previous conflicts. For starters:–abc-news.html

        • Jesse February 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

          Mike, you’re in the wrong on this one. Kate, you are too. It’s a historical significant picture chosen for the fact that these men were of the generation that began receiving VA benefits similar to our own. Before them there was a much smaller and less helpful system in place. They were the first for GI Bill, first for VA home loans, and first for many of the medical benefits that we have today. Coincidentally there were very few active military members that were female in that era that were not nurses. If the photo was of a hospital with nurses and soldiers in that era it would be fine for you but not fine for anyone who has spent time in a field hospital. If it were a photo of a bunch of nurses it would be fine for all of the females but all of the males would be confused how nurses have anything to do with them getting VA benefits. They chose this photo because we all know exactly what it is and what purpose it serves.

          Get off of your damn high horses, stop attacking each others punctuation and realize that you’re on the same damn team and that the photo really makes no fucking difference anyway because the information is the important part not the header photo.

  13. Donald Clayotn February 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    According to the VAs the only job that a veteran qualifies for is moping

    —– Original Message —–
    From: “Burgeson, Carol”
    To: “Don”>
    Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:05 PM
    Subject: RE: Letter of Non-Selection

    Dear Mr. Wittke: I unfortunately know of no such reference to hire a
    veteran. Those positions here in the VA restricted to veterans with
    preference are housekeeping aids.

    Carol Burgeson
    Human Resources Specialist
    VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
    2215 Fuller Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105
    Office: 734-845-3088
    Fax: 734-845-5811

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