Forever GI bill expands VA educational benefits

A number of provisions in the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act, also known as the Forever GI Bill, went into effect Aug. 1 to enhance benefits for veterans.

These provisions and those implemented since the law was signed less than a year ago will further help veterans and their families using benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to pursue their educational goals.

In a statement, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said, “From the day the Forever GI Bill was signed into law, VA, in collaboration with veterans service organizations, state approving agencies and school certifying officials, has taken an expansive approach to ensure earned benefits are provided to veterans in a timely, high-quality and efficient way.”

Among the provisions that went into effect Aug. 1:

  • Entitlement charges for licensing and certification exams and national tests will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test, lowering the entitlement charge to benefits.

  • Veterans who transferred entitlement to a dependent can designate a new dependent if the original dependent dies.

  • VA will prorate the monthly housing allowance so the student will receive housing payments effective the day of discharge.

  • VA will develop a pilot program to provide eligible veterans with the opportunity to enroll in high technology education programs providing training and skills sought by employers in a relevant field or industry.

  • Servicemembers and honorably discharged veterans who were awarded a Purple Heart on or after Sept. 11, 2001, will be entitled to benefits at the 100 percent benefit level for up to 36 months.

For more information, visit the Forever GI Bill – Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act page.

Harry Colmery is The American Legion’s past national commander who created the draft of the original GI Bill of Rights in 1944.