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• The V.A. has successfully deployed a new automated system that is delivering faster, more accurate payments to veterans attending school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“V.A. is relying upon the latest technology to provide a high-tech solution for administering the most generous educational benefits since the original GI Bill in 1944,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.

The technology relies upon information from veterans and specialized rules-based software to streamline the process for calculating veterans’ benefits.

“The new GI Bill is the first example of V.A.’s use of an agile approach to software development,” said Roger W. Baker, VA’s assistant secretary for information and technology. “Our success on this project is already being leveraged to ensure the success of other large software projects within V.A..”

The new processes and software available to V.A.’s claims personnel replace the interim tools in use since August 2009, when the Post 9/11 GI Bill became effective.

V.A. has issued more than $8 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to nearly 440,000 students and their educational institutions.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays schools directly for the tuition and fees incurred by eligible Veterans and active-duty personnel. Those payments are based upon the maximum rate in each state for tuition and fees at the in-state level for undergraduates. A monthly housing allowance is also provided.

Also included is a maximum $1,000 annual stipend for books and supplies, and a one-time payment of $500 for students who reside in specific rural areas. More information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill is available on the Internet at www.gibill.va.gov.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. recently presented its 2011 Congressional Award to Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat, for his outstanding service to the nation’s military and defense. The presentation took place at the annual VFW Legislative Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City.

“The Congressional Award recognizes a champion in Congress who fights for those who have worn the uniform and their families, and for a strong and secure America.”

As chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Senator Johnson was a key voice in getting advanced appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs — a top VFW legislative priority — signed into law, as well as additional V.A. funding increases.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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