WASHINGTON — The signing of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008 was the culmination of a decade’s worth of effort by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States to fight for a new military education benefit. Now that historic bill is becoming even greater, thanks entirely to strong congressional support and the intense advocacy of the VFW and other veterans and military service organizations in Washington and around the country.
On July 13, the VFW hosted a roundtable with several veterans and military service organizations to discuss the Forever GI Bill.
Since its activation in 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped more than one million veterans to pursue their post-military educational goals, but gaps in eligibility and coverage began to emerge as more and more veterans — or their survivors — took advantage of it.
Purple Heart recipients who bled for their nation, but didn’t have the requisite three years of active service, received only a partial benefit. Veterans attending schools that abruptly closed — through no fault of the veteran — were abandoned with academic credits they couldn’t transfer or enough benefit to complete their degrees. More than 25,000 Guardsmen and Reservists continue to be involuntarily activated without accruing the same full benefit as their active duty counterparts. Survivors of service members killed-in-action are denied eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon Program, which limits a family’s ability to cover the full cost of tuition at many participating private institutions. Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits transferred to a dependent child cannot be transferred to another sibling should the first child unfortunately die. And veterans who do not use their Post-9/11 GI Bill within 15 years of discharge or retirement lose the benefit.
“But no more,” said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy. “This Congress is acting on our suggestions to correcting deficiencies to ensure that all who are eligible — and those who have yet to raise their right hands — will benefit from the greatest educational benefit for veterans ever created,” he said.
“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,” he said. “The strong congressional support also proves that taking care of veterans and their families is the most bipartisan issue there is in Washington.”