While bipartisan agreement on an expansion to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill — unofficially known as the “Forever G.I. Bill” — have many in Washington optimistic for it to become law, a number of veterans advocates are still on Capitol Hill to stoke momentum and support. At the moment, the Senate measure has 33 co-sponsors (it’s expected to pass easily through the House next week).
UPDATE [Aug. 16, 2017 4:41 PM EST):
— Dr. David J. Shulkin (@SecShulkin) August 16, 2017
The proposed update to the existing legislation features three major changes, including the one that inspired its “forever” moniker.
The 15-year time limit for using the G.I. Bill would vanish
The benefit wouldn’t go away if the veteran wasn’t ready soon after being discharged from service. Also, if a feature of pilot program gets carried over, former service members could also receive more applicable money if they choose to study science, technology or engineering.
All Purple Heart recipients would be eligible
Currently, veterans have to serve for at least three years to receive full G.I. Bill benefits — even if they were wounded in combat, and were awarded the Purple Heart. According to the Congressional Budget Office, about 20 percent of recipients (about 600 vets a year) are not getting these benefits because their service wasn’t lengthy enough.
Benefits would be extended to more groups that aren’t currently covered
More than 25,000 National Guardsmen and reservists would receive the full benefit, and survivors of service members who are killed-in-action would become eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.
The bill will not only have the ability to be transferred to a dependent child but, if that child dies, a survivor can then take over that benefit.