GI Bill becomes timeless with new changes

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brett Clashman
  • 926th Wing Public Affairs

The 15-year time limitation for using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits is eliminated for veterans who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, and for their qualifying dependents.

The President signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” which will bring significant changes to veterans' education benefits. The law is named after the American Legion national commander who wrote the original GI Bill language in 1944, and will allow more veterans to use the GI Bill and more time to use it. Some of the following changes will go into effect immediately.

The new GI Bill also allows anyone who has received a Purple Heart on or after Sept. 11, 2001 to receive 100 percent of the benefits offered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This includes coverage of tuition costs at a public school’s in-state rate for 36 months and stipends for textbooks and housing.

Previously, Purple Heart recipients were beholden to the same time-in-service qualifications for the GI Bill as other service members. This meant that Purple Heart recipients without a service-connected disability who did not reach 36 months of service were only eligible for a percentage of the benefits, and not the full amount.

Students who were also a part of school closures in recent years will also have an extension of benefits. A provision in the new GI Bill will aim to restore benefits to victims of school closures. This provision will retroactively apply to GI Bill users whose schools have abruptly closed, for credits earned at the shuttered institutions that did not transfer to new schools.

Reservists who had eligibility under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and lost it due to the program sunset provision will have that service credited toward the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. Additionally, Veterans Affairs will help veterans more clearly identify schools that offer them priority enrollment.

These changes are meant to enhance or expand education benefits for veterans, service members, families and survivors.

(Information collected from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)