November 9, 2007
House panel approves changes to GI Bill
According to the Congressional Quarterly, a House panel has passed an act to expand the GI bill to cover more men and women in the National Guards and Reserve forces.
Panel Approves Expanded Education Benefits for Reservists
A House panel approved a bill Wednesday to make more National Guard and reserve troops eligible for G.I. Bill benefits by easing the requirements to receive them.
The bill, sponsored by
Tim Walz, D-Minn., comes in response to reports that Minnesota National Guard soldiers who had served in Iraq were demobilized only days before they would have received education benefits under the G.I. Bill of Rights.
The Veterans Affairs Committee approved the bill by voice vote, after making technical corrections.
Under current law, National Guard and reserve veterans who post 20 months of active-duty service and are mobilized for two years or more are eligible for active-duty educational benefits.
The Minnesota troops had been mobilized for slightly less than two years, leaving them ineligible.
“We believe that the law was never intended to do that,” Hare said. “The enhanced role the reserve component has played in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan forces us to reevaluate the benefits Guard and reserve servicemembers receive.”
The legislation would remove the two-year minimum mobilization requirement — instead changing it to “three years or less” — allowing the Guard members to receive the benefits.