(CBS) — President Trump on Thursday signed into law the second of two bills meant to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for an IT failure that delayed payments to thousands of veterans under the Forever GI Bill.
The White House said the president signed the Forever GI Bill Housing Payment Fulfillment Act into law on Thursday, establishing a team to audit housing payments made to veterans and identify those affected by the delay. Another bill, the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018, included a provision barring schools from penalizing students whose payments were delayed because of the VA’s failure.
The two bills were passed by both houses of Congress in the days leading up to the Christmas break. Mr. Trump signed the latter into law on Dec. 31.
The VA has come under harsh scrutiny by members of Congress and veterans groups for its botched implementation of a new system for making payments under the 2017 Forever GI Bill, which expanded housing and tuition benefits for veterans pursuing an education.
The law mandated a change in the way payments are calculated, and the VA was supposed to implement the changes by August 2018. However, the department’s decades-old IT systems were unable to handle a backlog of claims and were crippled for weeks, delaying payments for thousands of veterans.
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