Veterans benefit

It is a long time in coming, but f you served, you may again be eligible for GI Bill Education benefits that you may have thought expired.

Sharing news from the Veterans Administration:

Dear Fellow Veterans and Colleagues,

As you know, the recent passage of the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” enacts several changes to the GI Bill that will positively impact Veterans and their families. Some of the changes became effective the day the law was signed, some next fall, and some in the future. In the months to come, I’ll be updating you on how this new law impacts VA education benefits and what actions Veterans may need to take.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the legislation that immediately went into effect with the President’s signature, and what it means for you.

The 15-year time limitation for using Post-9/11 GI Bill – The 15-year limitation to use benefits is removed for Veterans who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, children who became eligible for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) on or after January 1, 2013, and all Fry Scholarship eligible spouses.

There is no action you need to take; if eligible, the limitation is simply removed for you.

Restoration of Benefits due to School Closure – We are now authorized to restore benefits and provide relief to Veterans affected by school closures or disapprovals.

If you attended courses or programs discontinued from January 1, 2015 to August 16, 2017, and attended an accredited institution of higher learning, and did not transfer any credits to a comparable program, entitlement will not be charged for the entire period of your enrollment. The law also provides separate criteria for partial benefit restoration for school closures after January 1, 2015.

To apply for restoration, we will develop a web page with instructions, information, and a form to complete and return. I will update you when this page is available, and we’ll post an announcement on our main GI Bill page and social media sites.

Independent study programs at career and technical education schools covered by GI Bill – This allows anyone eligible for GI Bill to use their benefits at an accredited independent study program at an area career and technical school, or a postsecondary vocational school providing postsecondary level education. A bit of background on this provision: before the passage of this law, most non-college degree programs weren’t approvable if any portion of it was online. This change allows those programs to be considered for approval even if some or all of the instruction is online/not in a classroom.

There is no action for you to take here, as these programs will go through the normal course of approval by the appropriate State Approving Agency. Any new programs will be added to our GI Bill Comparison Tool.

Reservists who had eligibility under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and lost it due to sunset of the program will have that service credited toward the Post-9/11 GI Bill program – We are in the process of identifying the approximately 2,800 Reservists affected by this and will send them letters with instructions.

I will update you when the letters go out, and what to do if you did not receive a letter but feel you may be eligible for this restoration. We will also post more information on the GI Bill web and Facebook pages.

These changes will greatly benefit our nation’s Veterans by providing expanded access and opportunity to access education benefits. I will continue to update you as we work out the details of this legislation.

As always, thank you for your service.

Regards,

Curtis L. Coy
Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, DC 20420
VA Core Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)

Things Really Did Go Better with Coca-Cola

 

Yesterday I interviewed a woman for the Navy Reserve who was born in 1986. And I thought, what a different world to have come of age in, than the one I remembered. The Nineties had already seen the beginnings of capitalism occuring in Russia, the second decade of a U.S. economic boom – jobs, cars, and homes, and since Desert Storm, a large and ongoing military presence in the Middle East. After Vietnam, the government was such a mess it couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of veterans with PTSD, or Agent Orange exposure, and in the Nineties it continued to deny that Desert Storm vets were exposed to chemical agents when they went into Iraq and the smoke of burning oil wells in Kuwait. We hadn’t heard before 2001 of Al Quaeda, but that the Soviets had lost in Afghanistan. My generation knew all about radicals, but lumped together the Jim Jones cult nuts, a few old 60’s Patty Hearst -type groups, paramilitary groups in Idaho and a few drug traffickers. Before advertising warned us of HIV and STDs, and condoms for junior high students, we still were educated in grainy black and white film about sex organs and where a baby comes from. GM and Ford were going downhill – and Dodge already had been bailed out.

We hated Iranians who had seized our embassy, lobbed missiles at Saddam Hussein when he kept plotting to kill our Presidents, and were frustrated why Israel and the PLO could never have peace, but American politicians always thought they were able to “fix it”. When I cast my first Presidential voting ballot, I cast for a former Navy man and peanut farmer from Georgia.
It was easier then to be liberal – young, inexperienced, and idealistic. After seeing the mess that a Democrat President and Congress made on the world stage, the crazy inflation, gas lines, and even with college, very little opportunity, it was easier to be cynical, conservative, and Republican. Those men and women who came of age in the Nineties – the Gen -X – are now trying to settle into family life, careers, and looking what the future holds for their children. Today, after the smashed idealism of voting for and now seeing the effect of an Obama Presidency and Democrat Congress, these folks as well as an old Conservative, hope to somehow claw our way back from utter national bankruptcy. So you see, not much has changed in the generations, except our currency value has crept closer to Monopoly money with each multi-billion payout. I think fondly of the Coca-Cola ad where everyone had joined hands across the world and sang for harmony, but today I am more akin to Toby Keith whose current song about the world in crisis- it’s all going to hell, but the world keeps turnin’ regardless.