Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What the "Forever GI Bill" Means for Veterans and Current Service Members



A couple weeks ago, From the Battlefield covered the new GI Bill as it passed through Congress and was awaiting the President. Last week, President Trump put pen to paper making the “Forever GI Bill” official. Formally known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, the new bill makes many changes.

Although the new bill decreases the housing allowance, there are several areas of expansion. Included in these are removing the 15-year time limit, expanding eligibility for Yellow Ribbon programs, the introduction of a scholarship for veterans seeking a STEM degree, and changing the way the VA calculates eligibility using time in service.

“Our student veterans are some of the very best of this country,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in a statement, “and I’m proud we can support them with this new law.”

The “Forever GI Bill” will affect veterans differently, based on when they were discharged. According to Military.com, veterans discharged before January 1, 2013, will see no changes, still have 15 years to use the GI Bill and their housing allowance will remain unchanged. If discharged after January 1, 2013, veterans now have forever to use their GI Bill benefits. Their housing allowance will also remain at the higher rate.

Service members currently serving on active duty that have not yet used the GI Bill and who will be discharged on or after January 1, 2018, have forever to use their GI Bill, but their housing allowance will be at the lower rate, unless they start using the GI Bill before the end of 2017.

Click here to read an article from Army Times that goes into depth on all the changes in the bill.

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