The Department of Veterans Affairs said that it's on track to meet the new deadline to implement the Forever GI Bill to expand education benefits for veterans, service members and their families, Federal News Network reported Wednesday. Initially, VA intended to begin processing education as well as housing benefits under the law in August. However, the agency adjusted the schedule to Dec. 1, 2019 to secure contracting support and resources.
To speed up the process, VA appointed Paul Lawrence, undersecretary for benefits, to manage all decision-making and activities associated with Forever GI’s implementation. The agency also established a program integration office to coordinate all officials working on the project.
In addition, VA is working with industry to help in the implementation. The agency awarded Mitre a $5.2 million contract to support and implement a program integration strategy, while Accenture coordinates planning, developing and testing for systems under a separate $14 million deal.
“From our perspective what we’ve seen in the last few months is that issues that previously could take weeks or months are now being adjudicated effectively in days or sometimes hours,” said Jay Schnitzer, vice president and chief technology officer for Mitre Corp.