Bills to improve post-9/11 GI Bill, end Montgomery GI Bill pass House vote

Abbie Bennett
November 12, 2019 - 8:47 am
GI Bill changes pass House vote

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Veterans, service members and their families who use the GI Bill in both of its forms could see major changes to their benefits if a set of bills that passed the House Tuesday become laws.

Bills aimed at improving the post-9/11 GI Bill and setting an end date for the Montgomery GI Bill both passed voice votes in the House and next head to the Senate. 

The 19-page Protect the GI Bill Act grew to encompass other pieces of legislation intended to improve the post-9/11 GI Bill and protect student veterans and their families from schools that could defraud them of their benefits and to shift the burden of overpayments to the VA and schools instead of the beneficiaries. 

VA has made millions in GI Bill overpayments, affecting as many as 1 in 4 veterans at about 6,000 schools. Instead of having to pay back the money, an often unexpected debt, veterans won’t have to handle overpayments at all, according to the bill. Schools and the VA will have to work that out among themselves. 

The bill also includes measures to: 

  • Require student veterans to monthly verify their student status online with VA. If a student veteran or beneficiary goes more than two months without completing the verification, they could stop receiving payments. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Ranking Member Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., called the requirement a "limited burden" on veterans. 
  • Provide more authority to state approving agencies to oversee schools and target those that might be insolvent, deceptive or intend to defraud students. Takano called those agencies the "front line of defense" against schools looking to swindle vets.
  • Makes a technical correction to BAH eligibility.
  • Another bill approved by House members Tuesday, the VA Overpayment Accountability Act, further protects veterans and their families from all types of VA overpayments, not only those related to the GI Bill. 

Montgomery GI Bill ends

The GI Bill Planning Act also was approved by the House Tuesday sets an enrollment sunset date of Sept. 30, 2029, for the Montgomery GI Bill in favor of the more generous post-9/11 GI Bill.

Service members and veterans who are currently enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill will still have access to their benefits after that date, but additional enrollment will end and no new service members will be added. 

The bills still need a vote in the Senate before they can head to the president’s desk for final approval to become laws. 

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Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.