Ed Wilkinson: Post-9/11 GI bill payments require patience

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Ed Wilkinson

When the post-9/11 GI bill became law in summer 2009, veterans and their families showed up in masses to take advantage of it.

As result, Veterans Affairs became clogged with a backlog of claims and only had estimates of exactly how many individuals were using the landmark legislation.

At the close of the first semester, there were 164,444 individuals enrolled in classes under the GI bill. About 130,309 have received payments, which leaves 34,000 students waiting.

The VA is paying about 4,500 students per day. So, if you are waiting for a payment, be patient.

Veterans can get help enrolling for health care

The VA has a Medical Care Hardship Program to help veterans enroll for health care services, should you lose yours.

If you have had a recent change in your income, even if you have been denied enrollment because of previous household income, you may be eligible for this program.

Hardship may be approved if the veteran’s current year income is substantially reduced from the prior year.

Personal circumstances such as loss of employment, sudden decrease in income or increases in out-of-pocket veteran or family health care expenses factor into VA’s hardship determination.

Applications available for Honor Flight in May

If you are a World War II veteran, or you know of one, the applications for the Honor Flight this May are available in my office.

The flight is free and the veterans I have talked to said it is well worth it.

Also, if you would like to go as a caregiver, there is a fee, but it is nominal for the trip, food and lodging.

Donations can be made by organizations and individuals to defray the costs of the flight.

Come see me for more information.

Census Bureau jobs available for veterans

The Census Bureau is taking applications for people to conduct the census this year.

Veterans interested can get a 5- or 10-point lead over civilians applying for the same job. Call 1-866-861-2010 or visit www.2010censusjobs.gov

Wages are paid plus mileage.

Historical/national dates

• Feb. 7, 1979 — Josef Mengele, also known as the Angel of Death, and an infamous Nazi doctor, dies in Brazil of a stroke.

• Feb. 10, 1942 — Japanese launch a submarine attack on naval base on island of Midway.

• Feb. 12, 1941 — Rommel uses newly formed Afrika Korps to aid Italians in Tripoli, Libya.

• Feb. 13, 1945 — Allied firebombing raids begin in Dresden, Germany, killing 135,000 people.

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