Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) has introduced new federal legislation that would repeal what he calls unfair and arbitrary time limits under the GI Bill, reports the Associated Press. Currently veterans have 10 years to use their Montgomery GI Bill (or 15 years to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill). The so-called delimiting date is determined by the veterans last discharge date.
For veterans to be eligible for training and education benefits in the program, service members must pay $1,200 before leaving the military and must use their benefits within 10 years of separating from the service. Blumenthal said more than 2 million veterans have been denied the benefits despite paying the $1,200 because they missed the 10-year time limit.
“The G.I. Bill has provided millions of veterans vital educational opportunities to improve their lives and careers, enriching our economy and strengthening communities at the same time. However, millions of veterans are currently denied these opportunities due to restrictive, unfair and arbitrary time limits now in place,” Blumenthal said. “Given the changing nature of today’s job market and economy, many veterans are now choosing to go back to school and receive additional training and expertise more than a decade after separating from the military. These wise decisions should be supported for all veterans. The Veterans Back to School Act provides a simple fix to eliminate the unjust and unfair restrictions, and allows current and future generations of veterans to use these hard-earned benefits whenever it makes best sense for their futures, families and careers,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal announced his new bill May 28 at Capital Community College in Hartford. It would repeal the time limit and restore a Vietnam-era program that helped education institutions provide outreach and support to students who are veterans.
While the bill would not have an immediate effect on Post-9/11 vets, it would restore the GI Bill for many Vietnam, Cold-War, and Gulf-War era veterans who were unable to take advantage of their benefits within the 10 years after discharge, notes Military.com's Terry Howell.
Track the bill's progress in Congress here.