VA assists GI Bill beneficiaries with Education Corporation of America closure

WASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will assist GI Bill® students affected by the December closure of Education Corporation of America’s (ECA) approximately 70 campuses.

VA is in the process of identifying GI Bill beneficiaries currently enrolled at ECA and informing them of follow-on options.

If schools close in the middle of a term and Post-9/11 GI Bill students do not receive credit, they may be eligible for restoration of entitlement used during that term.

"ECA announced this closure with little warning for its students, including GI Bill beneficiaries. VA remains committed to serving affected Veterans and providing them with the means to continue pursuing their educational goals,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

On Dec. 4, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools notified ECA of its decision to withdraw, by suspension, the current grants of accreditation of all the institutions owned by Virginia College. On Dec. 5, ECA announced that it will be closing all its campuses in December 2018 for the following ECA brands: 

  • Brightwood College
  • Brightwood Career Institute
  • Ecotech Institute
  • Golf Academy of America
  • Virginia College

VA is working closely with the National Association of State Approving Agencies to take the appropriate withdrawal actions by Jan. 1, 2019.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a VA-administered education benefit available to Veterans or active duty service members with qualifying active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001. Certain members of the Reserves who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program ended in November 2015 may also be eligible to receive restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

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VA announces fully capable Tele-counseling service within its Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) announced the ability for Veterans nationwide to meet with more than 1,000 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRC) via “Tele-counseling,” or virtual communication.

Tele-counseling, which is accessible on any device with a webcam and microphone, increases VA’s responsiveness to Veterans’ needs, reduces travel costs and time for both Veterans and VRCs, and improves Veterans’ access to necessary VR&E services.

“We strive to provide Veterans with access to personalized, interactive face-to-face care and services regardless of where they live,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VR&E’s Tele-counseling service is another example of how VA continually modernizes in support of Veterans’ needs.”

Tele-counseling allows Veterans to meet with VRCs virtually through VA Video Connect without having to download specialized software or obtain unique usernames and passwords. Access to a scheduled counseling session is obtained through a unique link sent directly to the Veteran and is valid for that counseling session only.

Veterans participating in most VR&E rehabilitation plans of service may use Tele-counseling and are encouraged to speak with their VRCs about it. Participation is voluntary and not required.

VR&E’s updated Tele-counseling application was developed through a partnership with Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) VA Telehealth Services. VR&E recently tested the ability to use Tele-counseling during initial evaluation appointments at six regional benefits offices. This test was conducted to identify how using Tele-counseling can reduce time Veterans wait for an appointment. Best practices were identified and incorporated into the rollout of the updated Tele-counseling application.

Since 2014, over 56,000 Veterans have either completed a rehabilitation plan, are employed, or have achieved a greater independence in living through VR&E assistance. The VR&E Program currently has more than 122,000 participants. For more information about VR&E, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/.

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VA’s Office of Transition and Economic Development engages Puerto Rico’s Veteran community

Partnership events support Veterans Day and beyond

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently hosted and participated in a series of partnership events in Puerto Rico to advance the economic success of service members, Veterans and families living on the island.

Statement by Secretary Robert Wilkie on Forever GI Bill Housing Benefit Payments

To clear up any confusion, I want to make clear that each and every post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiary will be made 100 percent whole – retroactively if need be – for their housing benefits for this academic year based on Forever GI Bill rates, not on post-9/11 GI Bill rates.

I made this clear to Chairmen Isakson and Roe on calls Tuesday and want to reassure Veterans and taxpayers that is indeed the case.

Although VA has encountered issues with implementing the Forever GI Bill on Congress’ timeline, we will work with lawmakers to ensure that – once VA is in a position to process education claims in accordance with the new law – each and every beneficiary will receive retroactively the exact benefits to which they are entitled under that law.

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VA Marks 15th Anniversary of My HealtheVet

Online Patient Portal Helps Veterans Manage their Health Care 

WASHINGTON — This month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is celebrating the 15th anniversary of   

My HealtheVet an online patient portal created to empower Veterans to become active participants in their health care.