As part of its ongoing transformation from paper-based to electronic claims processing, the Department of Veterans Affairs has continued to improve the automated payment of benefits for veterans participating in the Post 9/11 GI Bill education program. As a result, VA is now providing benefit payments to currently enrolled students in an average of six days -- cutting by more than half the processing time during the spring enrollment period last year.

The enhancement to VA's automated processing system, called the Long Term Solution, uses approximately 80 business rules to support end-to-end automation of Post 9/11 claims, ensuring accurate payments without the need for manual handling.

During the month of February, 48 percent of incoming documents (over 115,000) for enrolled students were fully automated, and an additional 33 percent were partially automated. For enrolled students starting a new semester of classes, processing is taking an average of six days to complete. For new students using the benefit for the first time, the average time to establish their eligibility under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is around 24 days.

The rules based processing approach LTS uses is also being built into VA's technology to VA's paperless disability claims processing -- the Veterans Benefit Management System.

Over the past 3 1/2 years, VA has produced $27 billion in Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to approximately 938,000 veterans. service members and their families.

For more information on benefits, see www.gibill.va.gov/.

Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS): The ODVS was formed on Aug. 21, 2008.

It is located at 77 South High Street in Columbus, employs 878 people, and has an annual budget of $82.9 million. Heading up the cabinet-level a gency as director is Col. Thomas Moe, (USAF, Ret.) Jason Dominguez is assistant director.

Some interesting numbers. There are 913,296 veterans, of all wars, living in Ohio. The U.S. VA expenditures in Ohio, $4.5 billion. The number of veterans receiving disability compensation or pension payments was 108,079. The number of Ohio veterans using GI Bill education benefits, 13,314.

Flag Retirement Ceremony: Members of VFW Twinsburg Post 4929 will conduct their annual flag disposal ceremony, Saturday, Apr. 27 at noon at Glen Chamberlin Park. American flags that need to be retired due to their physical condition can be dropped off at Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg City Hall, or Richner Hardware.

Items for this column can be mailed to Ron Seman, 7085 West 130th St., Apt. 120E, Parma Heights, 44130-7805, or email: seman.ronald@att.net.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to you and your loved ones.