A unanimous vote of the US House, and then the Senate, and a signature from President Trump have made amazing news for military members.
A bill was just signed into law that will extend full benefits to all post 9/11 Purple Heart recipients and remove the deadline for veterans to use their education money, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
The bill was authored by US Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), who said, “At our time of greatest need, Purple Heart heroes fought and bled for us. Their battle scars meet the service requirement.”
The law used to only extend full benefits to Purple Heart recipients who also served at least three years. Now, it’s not an issue if a military member was wounded on his or her first day of active duty (so long as that day was on or after September 11th, 2001). Now they will receive the full support they deserve for sacrificing their body for our nation.
The bill, “Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017,” is named after the man who originally framed the first G.I. Bill of Rights, back in 1944. It has also been nicknamed the “forever bill” because it removes all time limitations on veterans using their education funds.
According to Military Times, the bill has removed many hurdles for veterans who are furthering their education. Those pursuing STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), will be eligible for a new scholarship.
Those who were affected by sudden school closures, from 2015 on, will be reimbursed for a semester of schooling and given a housing stipend, which will also be extended to veterans who suffer from school closures in the future. Those who certify veteran enrollment at schools will now have to undergo training, so long as there are more than 20 veterans at the school.
The American Legion’s national leader, Charles E. Schmidt, said, “This lifetime benefit will allow veterans, and their families, to earn degrees and begin rewarding careers that can lead our economy.”
Veterans face troubling levels of unemployment, so it is absolutely essential they have the support and access to education that can help them overcome this hurdle, from financial support, to properly trained administrators.
This law also enacts several changes outside the realm of veteran education. This includes extending more benefits to veterans who served for less time. Benefits are now transferable after a dependent’s death (to other dependents), and those who survive the death of a military member in their family will receive more money for their own education. However, these family members will receive this educational support for less time.
Also as a result of this law, there will be an overall one percent reduction in housing stipend money granted to veterans over the next five years. Officials have reassured veterans that they will not see less money month-to-month, only new GI Bill members, as of January 2018, will see the minor reduction.
President Trump’s focus on honoring our military members has rallied our culture to pay attention to their cause. In a move seldom seen on today’s college campuses, the group Student Veterans of America led the charge to support the bill.