VA’s new change allows extra GI Bill benefits for veterans

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - Veterans and active duty soldiers can now use more of their benefits to get a college degree, now that the VA has made some changes.

Both active and retired military members who use the Veteran Readiness and Employment Benefits program to pay for college will no longer have that counted as part of their post 9/11 GI Bill.

Previously, the two benefits could not be used together. According to the VA, the change was made to give veterans a chance to maximize their benefits. Tila Jernigan works with veteran services at Texas A&M Central Texas and says for soldiers wanting to transfer their GI Bill to their family or change their major, the move is detrimental considering how expensive college can be.

“This is gonna give them the ability to go and pursue their academic and vocational goals, while also having a positive impact on future generations if they’ve already decided to transfer their GI Bill,” she said.

“They may get into something new, realize that’s not what they want, then find something that’s more suiting for themselves and their career satisfaction.”

In order to access both benefits, veterans must first use their VR&E benefits before their GI Bill. The VA has not provided any estimate on the potential cost of the changes, but Jernigan says it doesn’t matter.

“I believe that it could have potential costs associated with it, but it’s well worth it for our veterans,” she said.

“We need to make sure that we’re doing them justice in ensuring that their post service life, which is the most challenging part of their lives, is guaranteeing that we and the VA are doing everything we can to get them employed and working again.”

The VA has also started to review an estimate 80,000 GI Bill records to see if any of them should be granted additional money.

Anyone interested in more information can find it on the VA’s website.

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