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Presentation on theme: "ROBERT M. WORLEY II, DIRECTOR EDUCATION SERVICE VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION June 2013 VBA’s Education Service Update."— Presentation transcript:


2 OVERVIEW FY11-FY12 Trainees/Dollars Paid Long Term Solution Automation Automated Claims Processing Impact Executive Order 13607: Principles of Excellence… Public Law 112-249: Improving Transparency… Breaking News – Compliance Progress – Summer Letter to Schools from Under Secretary for Benefits – GAO Report 13-338 – Transition of Personnel – School Debt Collection 1

3 FY 11 – FY 12 Trainees/Dollars Paid 2 BenefitEducation ProgramFY 11 Trainees / Dollars PaidFY 12 Trainees / Dollars Paid Chapter 30Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)-AD185,220 / $1.4B118,549 / $932M Chapter 32Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)112 / $1.3M76 / $682K *Chapter 33Post-9/11 GI Bill555,329 / $7.7B646,302 / $8.5B Chapter 35Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) 90,657 / $463M87,707 / $455M Chapter 1606Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)65,216 / $201M60,393 / $157M Chapter 1607Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)27,302 / $95M19,774 / $77M Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)N/A12,251 / $6.1M Total923,836 / $9.8B945,052 / $10.1B *VA has issued $29.2 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to 972,569 individuals since program inception (August 2009).

4 3 February 21, 2012 Release 5.2 – “Architecture” – Establish Framework for End-to-End Automation End to End Automation July 30, 2012 Release 6.0 – “End to End Automation” for Select Supplemental Claims, Fielded on September 24, 2012 Interface = TIMS; Central Letter Print Svc FY13 Release 6.1 – Nov 4, 2012 – “Transition” Release 6.2 – Dec 17, 2012 – “Continuing to Improve Efficiencies” New Legislation March 5, 2011June 4, 2011 October 17, 2011 Release 4.2 – “60 day” Requirements Release 5.0 – Fall Claims Processing “New Legislation” Interface = Updates to BDN Release 5.1 - Complete “New Legislation,” Requirements for Non- College Degree Programs Full Operating Capability March 31, 2010 Release 1.0 – Initial Claims Adjudication Interface = VADIR June 30, 2010 October 30, 2010 Release 2.0 – Full Claims Adjudication; System- Generated Letters Interface = WEAMS; EDW Release 3.0 - Enhanced Enrollment Processing Interface = VAONCE December 20, 2010 Release 4.0 – Payments; Initial Claimant Self- Service Interface = BDN January 16, 2011 Release 4.1 – Convert Housing Payments to CY 2011 Rates August 23, 2010 Release 2.1 – Retroactive Adjustment of CY 2010 Housing Payments; Complete Data Conversion from Interim Solution. Long Term Solution (LTS) - Major Releases

5 Long Term Solution (LTS) Automation LTS Off-Ramps Business rules designed to ensure accurate payments to veterans VA continues to work to reduce the claims off ramped Announcements posted on the GI Bill website and sent to CELOs and SAAs about claims automation and off ramps due to non-standard remarks Information about non-standard remarks added to VA-ONCE Quick Reference User Guide and revised SCO Handbook Two major reasons for off-ramped claims are: Unnecessary school comments submitted through VAONCE: We are continuing to train schools to eliminate unnecessary comments LTS enhancements in Release 6.1 helped reduce this off-ramp by simplifying both automated and manual claims processing. Change of Address by School: We are planning future rule changes to minimize unnecessary off-ramp for this reason 4 4 Request to SCOs…Use the remarks section only when absolutely necessary.

6 Long Term Solution (LTS) Transition / Way Ahead LTS Transition: From Development to Sustainment Phase LTS entered into the maintenance phase on March 31, 2013 Limited development Eleven work-streams transitioned from development contractor to VA Upcoming LTS efforts: BAH Adjustments (effective August 1, 2013) Release 6.3 (July/August 2013) LTS Way Ahead Limited development of LTS in a sustainment phase Deferred functionality still required Certificate of Eligibility and End-to-End Automation Future Automation of Supplemental Claims Electronic Letters via eBenefits Centralized Printing Business Analytics Chapter 33 benefit access for SCOs 5 5

7 LTS Supplemental Automation Summary 6 6

8 Goal 28 Days Original ClaimsOct 12Nov 12Dec 12Jan 13Feb 13Mar 13Apr 13May 13 MGIB (CH30)40.336.943.733.528.519.012.810.3 DEA (CH35) MGIB-SR (1606)41.539.340.930.929.624.312.89.7 Post-9/11 GI Bill (CH33)41.845.645.534.327.820.615.817.0 REAP (1607)43.346.046.336.532.726.715.511.9 VRAP18.417.223.825.429.327.425.919.7 Average All Programs35.9 39.041.932.828.422.518.217.0

9 Goal 14 Days Supplemental ClaimsOct 12Nov 12Dec 12Jan 13Feb 13Mar 13Apr 13May 13 MGIB (CH30)16.117.513.612.715. DEA (CH35)22.421.118.118.617.019.914.19.8 MGIB-SR (1606)16.916.112.812.614. Post-9/11 GI Bill (CH33)21.716. REAP (1607)19.520.114.714.117.314.27.86.1 VRAP14.513.615.419.819.415.912.59.2 Average All Programs20.817.

10 Increasing Demand – Increasing Production Time Period Ave per month Completed% Change* Pre-LTS (May 09 – Feb 10) 79,434N/A LTS- Pre End-to-End (Mar 10 – Sep 12) 184,234132% LTS Post End-to-End (Oct 12 – Apr 13) 274,28049% LTS Production Gains *Percent Change from previous production era Chapter 33 Production Comparison

11 EO 13607: Principles of Excellence 10 Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members. –Provide information about the financial cost and quality of educational institutions; –Prevent abuse and deceptive recruiting practices; and –Ensure that educational institutions provide high-quality academic and student support. Recently Completed Activity –February ED released College Scorecard VA Complaint System of Record Notice (SORN) submitted to Federal Register for public comment –March Yellow Ribbon Program open season (March 15 – May 15) includes option to enroll in Principles of Excellence Incorporated College Navigator into GI Bill website VA Complaint System of Record Notice (SORN) approved –April Targeted outreach to US News & World Report top schools to encourage participation Targeted outreach to top veteran educational institutions to encourage participation CFPB updated “Paying for College” website to include GI Bill calculator to aid in determining total cost for college –May 3572 educational institutions (6,220 campuses) committed to comply with the POE as of May 10, 2013 POE Centralized Complaint System Intake Questionnaire completed public comment period and submitted to OMB

12 Principles of Excellence – Centralized Complaint System VA and DoD will create a complaint system for students to register complaints that can be tracked and responded to Interim Approach – Leverage existing capabilities (i.e. GI Bill website webform, Education Service National Call Center, etc.) to receive complaints from students. Upon completion and approval from OMB VA can begin accepting complaints Plan to begin accepting complaints Summer 2013 Long Term Approach – Further automate the processing of complaints, provide a feedback loop by which VA will monitor complaints with schools and make complaints public. Coordinating to leverage DoD Complaint System for VA Agencies are developing uniform procedures for receiving, processing, and sharing complaint information Complaints will be forwarded to and will reside in Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel database Database will be accessible to review external complaints, run reports, and identify trends that potentially warrant criminal or civil investigation 11

13 Principles of Excellence –Student Veteran Outcome Measures VA, DoD, and ED will develop Student Veteran outcome measures Purpose of Outcome Measures: To ascertain success among veterans in utilizing the GI Bill program. To identify what the Veterans/Servicemembers need to know when choosing a school. To identify what the Federal government should know to ensure an education program is appropriate. Agencies developed proposed list of measures comparable for Veteran and military educational programs as closely as possible with ED’s outcome measures Proposed Outcome Measures: During School – Retention %, Persistence %, Transfer Rate for Community Colleges and Courses Completed/Credit Earned Completion of School - Graduation %, Degrees/Conferred, and Federal Student loan debt load Post Graduation - Salary, Employment in field of study %, Unemployment %, and Repayment % (or CDR) The proposed list has been vetted with VSOs and higher education associations Agencies are collaborating to define measures and cohort requirements and begin data collection targeted for Aug 2013 12

14 VA will establish procedures for Risk-Based Program Reviews of institutions to ensure compliance with the Principles –Established a Risk-Based Review sub-working group in April to: Update compliance survey procedures to incorporate Principles of Excellence Develop procedures to conduct Risk Based Program Reviews –Developed risk matrix for red flags with triggers and examples that may generate a risk based review –Coordinating with DoJ to conduct Fraud Awareness Curriculum for Complaint Case Managers, ELRs/ECSSs, and SAAs To be conducted in conjunction with launch of PoE Complaint System –Developed work flow for complaint handling and risk based review processing. 13 Principles of Excellence – Risk Based Program Reviews

15 VA will provide prospective military and veteran students, prior to using their benefits, streamlined tools to compare educational institutions using key measures of affordability and value –Interim Approach: Link on eBenefits to College Navigator College Navigator embedded into GI Bill Website Current Status –Project initiation/business requirements for the Comparison Tool/Benefits Estimator were submitted in March 2013 Initial tool to include: graduation rate, retention rate, loan default rate, avg student loan debt, veteran population, Yellow Ribbon Program, POE participation, cost indicators – tuition/fees Projected initial comparison tool targeted for August 2013 –Long Term Approach Enhanced comparison tool to include veteran student outcome measures, other veteran specific information, and feedback from requirements in PL 112-249 14 Principles of Excellence – Comparison Tool

16 PL 112-249, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012 Comprehensive policy on providing education information to Veterans –Effective and efficient methods to inform individuals of their education and vocational counseling. –Centralized tracking and publishing of feedback from students and State Approving Agencies. –Web-based tool to compare programs and estimate GI Bill benefits. –Transition Assistance Program information accessible for future students and schools. –Not approve programs and/or schools that use enrollment incentives. Requirements –Develop regulations, procedures, and policies necessary to execute the law –Conduct two market surveys for online tools to do the following Assess whether an individual is academically ready to engage in postsecondary education and training Provide a list of providers of postsecondary education and training based on selected criteria –Submit 90-Day Report to Congress by April 10, 2013 Implementation –Established Integrated Project Teams to implement PL 112-249 –Created an integrated schedule for project management Integrated deliverables from EO 13607 and PL 112-249 to capitalize on EO work completed 15

17 PL 112-249, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012 (cont.) Delivered 90-day report to Congress April 10, 2013 –Provided summary of new policies and plan for implementing programs –Available at or > scroll down to Announcement feed Conducted market surveys for online tools to: –Assess whether an individual is academically ready to engage in postsecondary education and training or would need remedial preparation before beginning. Based on the market survey results, CareerScope® was identified as the likely preferred commercially available off-the-shelf online tool. Will offer pilot program of self-administered assessments on starting late summer 2013 –Provide a list of providers of postsecondary education and training based on selected criteria. The recommended interim solution for the Comparison Tool includes working with ED to create a Benefit Estimator tool with College Navigator hosted on and The long-term approach for the Comparison Tool with additional enhancements targeted for April 2014 16

18 PL 112-249, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012 (cont.) Conducting national campaign to promote Chapter 36 Vocational Counseling for Veterans through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program –VBA is promoting vocational counseling through the VetSuccess on Campus Programs at 35+ schools –A letter is sent to all Veterans on academic probation informing about counseling through CH36 –VBA is developing a larger outreach strategy to include all schools approved for CH33 Providing assistance to School Certifying Officials for certifications and reporting –Training conferences –Comprehensive SCO Handbook –Education Service Webinars –Online resources – Facilitating information sharing between State Approving Agencies and accrediting agencies on program approval and evaluations of schools –VBA is working with the State Approving Agencies and the Department of Education to draft coordination procedures with accrediting agencies Developing policy on prohibition of certain uses of inducements by educational institutions (commissions, bonuses, or incentive pay for securing enrollments, financial aid, etc) 17

19 Breaking News - Compliance Progress 18 Education Compliance Surveys In partnership with SAAs, VA ensures schools and training establishments are in compliance with all applicable provisions of the laws administered by VA In FY12 VA and SAAs completed over 4,700 compliance reviews of schools, an increase of more than 147% over FY11 (1,900) Compliance Survey Redesign Working Group (CSRWG) Established Sep 2012 Examine all aspects of the Compliance Survey process in order to make mutually agreed upon modifications which ultimately provide improved delivery of educational benefits to Veterans Made up of VBA and National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) leadership and representatives Accomplishments Reduced number of compliance visits per SAA staff member to 20 SAAs may conduct supervisory technical visits FY 13 Compliance Guidance reduced number of files to be reviewed Began pilot of “Referral Process” streamlining correction of survey discrepancies Implemented “Best Practices” student worksheet developed by an SAA Results: compliance survey time reduced by approximately 40% Compliance Streamlining = More time for approvals, training, supervisory visits, outreach

20 Breaking News – USB Summer Enrollment Letter The Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey, issued a letter outlining ways educational institutions can assist with timely VA education payments Ensure School Certifying Officials (SCOs) submit enrollment certifications to VA as quickly as possible, preferably before the start of the school term Encourage Veterans to routinely interface with the SCO on campus. The SCO is the key connection point between the school and Veterans who are utilizing their benefits Help Veterans understand housing allowance is paid in arrears (by law) and is apportioned by the period of time the school is operational for the month Ensure SCOs stay connected with VA for program updates and to address questions or problems Provide Veterans awaiting GI Bill payments with information on available financial assistance 19

21 Breaking News – GAO Report 13-338 GAO Report 13-338, May 2013: “VA Needs to Improve Program Management and Provide More Timely Information to Students” GAO Conclusions: In fiscal year 2012, VA's average processing times for new Post-9/11 GI Bill applications (31 days) and benefit payments claims (17 days) were over a third higher than its performance targets. VA provides limited information about benefit processing timelines and payment policies to student veterans prior to enrollment, which can leave them unprepared to deal with these payment delays. VA provides limited direct support to veterans on campus, and schools are generally building their own veteran support services without any assistance from VA. VA Update: Advanced automation functionality deployed September 24, 2012 - 50% Ch33 supplemental claims processed without human touch, another 30% partially automated Average days to complete claims has been dramatically reduced from 35.9 in October 2012 to 17 in May 2013 (Originals) and 20.8 in October 2012 to 6 in May 2013 (Supplementals) Automation has drastically reduced pending inventory of claims - in Oct 2012, pending inventory was at 213,590; o As of June 3rd, pending inventory is 53,161; 800,895 Ch33 supplemental claims have been fully automated VA provides processing timeliness publicly through the GI Bill website, under Contact Information, Regional Processing Offices: Processing time for each individual office is available. VA uses multiple media approaches to get the word out on housing and other types of payments o Student Veteran Award Letters o GI Bill Website and Facebook o VA Office of Economic Opportunity weekly "Missive" o School Certifying Officials Support to Veterans - Vet Success on Campus, Chapt 36 Counseling, SCO Hotline 20 This GAO Report contains information that was outdated before it was published

22 Breaking News – Employee Transition VBA is transitioning 100 Employees from Education Claims Processing to Disability Claims Processing The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is transitioning 100 education employees from the Atlanta Regional Processing Office (RPO) to work disability compensation claims. VBA is able to transition the employees due to the successful implementation of automated processing for supplemental Post 9/11 GI Bill education claims. The 100 employees will begin working disability claims in September 2013. Includes jurisdictional change for FL and SC to Muskogee VBA expects minimal impact to education claims processing timeliness 21

23 Breaking News – School Debt Collection Background Title 38, Section 5314 (s) of US Code requires VA to offset future benefit payments to recover outstanding debts. Post 9/11 GI Bill payments directly to schools (on behalf of Veterans) presents new challenges for debt collection. TOP is a centralized offset program managed and operated by the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS). As required by Federal law, Federal agencies submit these delinquent debts to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) for interception of eligible Federal and state payments Timeline of actions taken by VA and DMC to collect school debts since 2010 o VA issued guidance on debt establishment/collection in Apr 2009, Sep/Oct 2009, and Jan 2011 o 1st Collection Letter Issued November 2010 o Review and validation of debts as student or school Dec 2010 - Apr 2011 o 2nd Collection Letter Issued May 2012 o 3rd Collection Letter Issued September 2012 o 1st Referral to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) November 2012 Roles and Responsibilities o VA Education Service - develops and establishes policy and implementation technology IAW law o VA Regional Processing Office - sends initial indebtedness letter; resolves disputed debts o VA Debt Management Center - serves as debt collection arm of VA; sends notices of indebtedness o Department of the Treasury - executes debt collection by offsetting federal payments going to school 22

24 Breaking News – School Debt Collection (cont.) Process Automated claims technology establishes debt in the system RPO sends letter to school/student advising them of the debt DMC sends three notices of indebtedness providing a total of 120 days to repay or dispute (debt collection process is suspended when under dispute) If the debt is not addressed, it is automatically referred to the Treasury Offset Program VA acknowledges there were numerous issues with the administrative processing of these debts and significant impacts from offsets taken through the TOP We have received the feedback from NAVPA and individual schools From the beginning of this process we have worked closely with DMC and with the Regional Processing Offices, who have worked diligently to resolve specific school issues and to improve processes overall 23

25 Breaking News – School Debt Collection (cont.) Improvement Actions Taken School liability collections are centralized at DMC Notice of Indebtedness letters modified to direct schools to direct disputes to DMC DMC created unique email account for school debt inquiries/disputes DMC has developed a cadre of fully trained accounts receivable technicians to respond to email inquiries within five business days DMC reached out to Dept of Treasury related to processing issues; published FAQs DMC offering ad-hoc listing of all school bills by facility code, upon request (working with our IT Office to generate weekly reports on Post 9/11 GI Bill overpayments by facility) Disseminated guidance directing all disputes go to the single point of contact at DMC to avoid duplication and confusion Added 15 days to the 3rd letter, 60 day timeline-provides processing time before referral to TOP In April DMC began processing TOP refunds - letter sent to school receiving refund with POCs at Dept of Treasury for details Implemented "paid in full" and "partial payment" notices for payments captured by TOP As of May, a disputed debt found to be valid has an additional 30 days for collection Conducted extensive outreach efforts at conferences 24

26 CONTACT US 25 WEBSITE: TELEPHONE: 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551)


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