Includes Provision Similar to Bennet Bill to Expand Benefits to National Guardsmen and Reservists Serving Domestically
Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded the Senate’s approval of a bill that makes several improvements to the Post-9/11 GI Bill of 2008. Bennet, a cosponsor of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act, successfully fought to include a provision that expands the educational benefit to National Guardsmen and Reservists.
“When men and women sign up to defend our country, it’s our duty to ensure they receive the benefits they have earned,” Bennet said. “Right now, thousands of Guardsmen and Reservists are getting short shrift when it comes to the educational benefits they deserve. We must do better. This improvements bill, which is fully paid for, will help ensure that all our service members can get a college degree, a good-paying job and an the opportunity to live out the American Dream.”
Currently, the Post-9/11 GI bill excludes thousands of National Guard members from receiving full education benefits even though they served on active duty and were paid by the federal government.
The improvements Bennet included expand the educational benefit to National Guard members and Reservists on active duty authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for the purpose of responding to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by federal funds. This includes domestic emergency response activities, such as the relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thousands of Americans nationally will be eligible for these benefits if the bill becomes law.
In addition to expanding Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to National Guardsmen and Reservists, the bill would improve on the original Post-9/11 GI Bill by:
- Allowing veterans to apply their benefit to vocational and trade schools, in addition to four-year schools;
- Expanding the housing allowance benefit to cover more veterans;
- Expanding the benefit to include a books and supplies stipend; and
- Allowing service members to transfer their benefit to a dependent after they are separated.
This bill would reduce the deficit by more than $730 million over 10 years, according to estimates. Before the bill can be sent to the President for his signature into law, it must be passed by the House.