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VA to hire 350 in new GI Bill's first phase

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to hire approximately 350 temporary full-time employees to administer the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which takes effect Aug. 1, 2009. VA also plans to notify some 500,000 veterans about the new benefit, including information about a special Web-based calculator to help them choose the right program for their needs, and offer a new toll-free phone number so individuals can speak with trained VA staff.

VA has been communicating with The American Legion and other veterans service organizations through conference calls as plans for the new GI Bill take shape. The Post 9/11 GI Bill will be administered by VA, with cooperation from DoD. It joins the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty, the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program as primary education benefits for military members, National Guardsmen, Reservists, veterans and their spouses and dependents.

VA officials say the project will come to life in two phases – a short-term effort to administer the benefit from Aug. 1, 2009, until Aug. 1, 2010, and a long-term effort after that time that will include technological involvement from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.  The goal of the long-term program is to keep it adaptable and allow VA staff to make modifications as needed. Any contracting by VA or the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command will come in the form of subcontracts for components that will ultimately be owned and operated by VA.

The long-term program is expected to be up and running within two years.

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