By Debbie Gregory.
It looks like big changes may be on the horizon for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
The “forever” GI Bill, officially titled the “Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017″ looks to be a broad, permanent bill of rights for student veterans and their families. And it has a pretty good chance of passing through Congress.
Named for Harry W. Colmery, the past American Legion national commander who hand-wrote the original GI Bill in 1944, the proposal contains reforms to benefit Purple Heart recipients, reservists, veterans’ surviving dependents, and victims of for-profit school closures.
If the bill, introduced on July 13th by House Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman and Republican Rep. Phil Roe, is passed by Congress, it will affect veterans who become GI Bill-eligible after January 1, 2018.
Major changes would include:
- The elimination of the 15-year “use it or lose it” time limit on veteran education benefits
- A permanent change to the program’s name- just “GI Bill”
- The guarantee of full veteran benefits for ALL Purple Heart recipients
- Help for victims of predatory for-profit schools
- Assistance for survivors and dependents by extending Yellow Ribbon eligibility to those survivors
- Changing housing allowances for student veterans to the same BAH as similarly situated active-duty service members
The Student Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Got Your Six, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors assisted in putting the bill together and readying it for approval.
“This beefed-up Post-9/11 GI Bill recognizes the long service and sacrifice of the one percent of Americans who have voluntarily put their personal lives on hold to fight an unimaginable multi-front war for 16-plus years,” said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy.
What do you think?