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“This legislation will enable veterans to use the education benefits they’ve earned through the G.I. Bill when and how it suits them best, setting them up for future success in whatever career they pursue,” said Rep. Phil Roe, of Tennessee, chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, after the Forever G.I. Bill was signed by the president.

While it will indeed erase the expiration date on the benefits themselves for current and former service members and their dependents — it’s certainly not all it will do.

To check on your G.I. Bill benefits, or apply for them online, click here.

Here’s virtually every provision (26 to be exact) in the bill that officially became law on August 16, 2017.

Eligibility Fix

Time spent in recovery due to battlefield injuries will count towards G.I. Bill eligibility.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018

Purple Hearts Get More 

Approximately 1,500 Purple Heart recipients will become eligible for the G.I. Bill.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018

More Children Get the Yellow Ribbon Program

Children who lost a parent in the line of duty will have access to the Yellow Ribbon Program.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018

More National Guard & Reservists Get Their G.I. Bill

Authorizes additional G.I. Bill funding for members of the National Guard and Reserve.

It increases money and eligibility for individuals who served at least 90 days but less than six months on active duty, from 40% to 50% benefit payable. It also does the same for individuals who serve at least six months but not 12 months, from 50% to 60% benefit payable.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2020

National Guard & Reservists Get Their Benefits Back

Education benefits that were pulled unexpectedly from Reservists and National Guard members in 2015 — when Congress repealed the Reserve Educational Assistant Program (REAP) — will have them reimplemented.

When will this go into effect? Immediately

Housing Stipends Improve

A student taking online classes will be compensated more accurately for their cost of living. It happens by changing the way living stipend amounts are calculated — from the living stipend payment being based on where the school is located to having it calculated based on where the student takes classes.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018

Vets Won’t Be Charged a Whole Month for Testing

Under the old rules, a veteran would be charged a whole month’s entitlement to pay for any national test (GMAT, GRE, SAT, etc.) or one for state licensing. It’ll now change, to pro-rate just the cost of the test itself.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018

Restoring Benefits Wasted on Schools That Closed

It gives back benefits lost at schools that closed out of nowhere and it continues education assistance programs for vets who were disapproved or who “would not have the term during which their studies were interrupted count toward the aggregate of their G.I. Bill entitlement.” It also allows vets to continue collecting payments for education assistance “through the end of the term, quarter, or semester in which the school closes, or for 120 days from the date of the school closure, whichever is less.”

When will this go into effect? November 14, 2017 (applies to closures after January 1, 2015)

New Transferability Option

A vet can now transfer months worth of a G.I. Bill to another dependent if the original dependent owner dies without getting through all of the benefits. A dependent can also transfer benefits to another dependent after the death of the service member or veteran.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018 (respectfully applies to deaths on or after August 1, 2009)

STEM Scholarship

The VA can now offer a scholarship (additional G.I. Bill funds) to allow a student veteran to finish a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degree.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2019

End of 15-Year Time Limit

The 15-year time limitation to use the G.I. Bill will no longer exist for new service members.

When will this go into effect? Immediately for service members and dependents discharged on or after January 1, 2013

Pro-Rate Housing Allowance for Activations

The VA can now pro-rate housing stipends for Reservists who get called up for active duty during the middle of a month.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018 (for members of the Reserve component of the Armed Forces pursuing an educational program using current G.I. Bill benefits)

VA Must Now Submit Performance Reports

The Secretary of the VA must now submit reports from institutions on students’ performance to Congress (no later than March 1 of every year).

When will this go into effect? Immediately

$30 Million to Improving Claims Process

About $30 million will go to improve G.I. Bill claims processing, an IT system.

When will this go into effect? Fiscal years 2018 and 2019

Tech Pilot Program

The VA will create a five-year pilot program that gives vets the chance to enroll in tech courses, like coding boot camp, garner IT certifications, and more. It’ll provide tuition and other payments on a scale while also giving the participating schools an incentive to graduate the veteran students as well as help them find a career within their field of study.

When will this go into effect? No later than 180 days after August 1, 2018

Work-Study Program Extended

Repeals the sunset date of the VA work-study benefits for outreach to student veterans.

When will this go into effect? Immediately

DEA Benefits Consolidated

The number of months of entitlement changes for those eligible for the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) from 45 months to 36 months (similar to other programs).

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018

DEA Payments Increased

Monthly payments for assistance under the DEA will be increased by $200 per month.

When will this go into effect? October 1, 2018 (applies to all survivors eligible for DEA benefits)

Independent Study Programs

Someone eligible to receive G.I. Bill benefits can now use them toward accredited independent study programs (including open circuit television) at qualifying schools and institutions.

When will this go into effect? Immediately (for those currently using G.I. Bill benefits)

G.I. Bill Comparison Tool Addition

This useful tool provided by the VA will now have to include whether or not a school a priority enrollment system in place especially for veterans.

When will this go into effect? Immediately

VA Advisory Committee on Education (VACOE)

Extends the authority of the VACOE from December 2017 to December 2022.

When will this go into effect? Immediately

Codification of Vet Success on Campus (VSOC)

Right now there are almost 100 schools with a VSOC program, a system that provides a counselor at each participating institution to assist vets with their transition from military to college.

When will this go into effect? Immediately

12304(b) Reservist Equity

Individuals who serve under the 12304, 12304(a) and 12304(b) orders will now be eligible for Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits.

When will this go into effect? August 1, 2018 (applies to National Guard members and Reservists who have received 12304(b) orders after June 30, 2008)

12304(b) Reservist Order Equity for Vocational Rehab

Vets receiving Vocational Rehab (VR&E) benefits will now be able to “pause” their benefit time after being called up for 12304(a) and 12304(b) active duty orders.

When will this go into effect? Immediately (for National Guard members and Reservists with service-connected disabilities)

Housing Allowance Fix

Some time ago, the annual percentage increase to active duty BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) was reduced to 1% a year for five years, but G.I. Bill payments were exempt. They will now be aligned so that a G.I. Bill recipient will get the same allowance as an E-5 active-duty service member with dependents.

When will this go into effect? January 1, 2018 (for those using G.I. Bill benefits after this date)

World War II Mustard Gas Exposure Restitution

The Department of Defense will be tasked with investigating the sites of mustard gas exposures during World War II, then submitting their findings to the VA and Congress.

When will this go into effect? February 12, 2018


Here’s the Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin publicly commenting on what’s officially called the Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017:


(h/t: Student Veterans of America)