The Post-9/11 GI Bill is truly the most comprehensive education benefit that Veterans of the United States military have ever received. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will always provide the best deal that Veterans are going to get on education.
Several states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all have programs with varying eligibility for full and partial tuitions paid for military Veterans.
Veterans who reside in and wish to attend college in these states have had to choose between their state-offered benefit and the federally-funded Post-9/11 GI Bill. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), which oversees federal Veteran education benefits, has been operating under the policy that Veterans from these states need to spend all of their state benefits before being approved for federal benefits.
Veteran students from these states have also been allowed to sign a waiver that allows them to forego their rights to state benefits, in order to receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The advantage is that the Post-9/11 GI Bill not only pays tuition, but also offers a monthly allowance for housing, and a stipend of up to $1,000 per year for books and school supplies.
Apparently, the fear is that Veterans, many of whom served multiple deployments to combat zones and international hot-spots, might double-dip the system.
Several law makers are becoming privy to this unnecessary restriction and what it means for Veterans.
“It was not the intent of Congress to require Veteran students in a state like Illinois, which provides 100 percent tuition and fee coverage for eligible veterans, spouses, and children, to choose between their state benefits and the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits,” wrote Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, in a letter to the VA. “The requested waiver would marry the Post-9/11 GI Bill with Illinois’ state benefit programs.”
In his letter, Durbin asked the VA to grant Illinois and other states waivers, so that all the benefits can be used to help Veterans achieve a higher education.
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Military Connection: Afraid of Veterans Double-dipping: By Joe Silva