Senator Proposes Changing GI Bill

I have always said that the New Post 9/11 GI Bill is too generous and that our country just doesn’t have the money to pay for what has been promised.  In my opinion, it is just a matter of time before Congress begins changing the terms of the current deal.

It seems that the idea of altering the GI bill has come to some other people, including at least one Senator.  Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, has proposed legislation that, if passed, will begin the changes that I think are inevitable. Senator Akaka’s proposal would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to reimburse the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for any payments that are made on behalf of family members (via transferred benefits.) As it currently stands, the DOD has the ability to make the rules but the Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for paying for the program.  If the DOD becomes responsible for the costs of transferred benefits, it will have little choice but to change the transfer eligibility rules.

According to remarks made by Akaka on June 21, Congress never expected the DOD to make such generous transfer rules.  Akaka’s proposal is contained in Senate Bill 3447, The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement of 2010.  The bill also contains improvements of the GI bill that will help veterans use the benefits they have earned.

Many people believe that this part of the bill will be removed before the bill comes to a vote, but I believe that it is a sign of the future of the GI Bill that Senator Akaka even proposed such a change.  I feel so frustrated for people who are making plans based upon the promises of the New Post 9/11 GI Bill and I promise that I will keep you up to date as things develop.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Tim Embree

    IAVA sharply disagrees with the characterization of New GI Bill 2.0 in the recent post, “Senator Proposes Changing GI Bill” on New GI Bill 2.0, as introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, provides a substantial increase in GI Bill benefits for veterans and family members alike. IAVA, the VFW, American Legion, MOAA, and Student Veterans of America, all major veteran service organizations, support S.3447. We all recognize this benefit will help thousands of veterans and their families nationwide.

    The New GI Bill 2.0 will do a lot for military families. Tuition benefits will expand for veterans and family members alike, while distance learners will start qualifying for a monthly living allowance. Family members of National Guardsmen, deployed down in the Gulf, will now have GI Bill benefits to transfer to their loved ones. Dependents will be able to attend vocational schools (such as EMT School) or participate in apprenticeship or OJT programs. None of these are currently authorized. These much needed improvements to the Post 9/11-GI Bill are huge upgrades for everyone using the benefit.

    Also the provision that was mentioned which would have required DOD to pay for transferred benefits was omitted from the final version of the bill. Senator Akaka deserves tremendous credit for removing this provision.

    Anyone who has seen combat knows there is no way to make the new GI Bill “too generous.” We owe our veterans a debt that this country will never be able to fully repay, but New GI Bill 2.0 is a positive step. I hope that everyone takes the time to study this excellent bill and encourage veterans and their families to call their Senator and ask them to support New GI Bill 2.0 (S.3447).

  • Kate Kashman

    Tim, if you will read elsewhere, you will see that I support the bill in general, and I don’t actually anticipate that any sort of transferability changes are going to happen through this particular bill. However, I do think that they are going to happen. It is a matter of when, not if. Our country is not going to be able to fund all the benefits that are currently promised.

    I hope that the future proves me wrong.