Sen. Thune, colleagues introduce legislation to streamline GI Bill benefits
WASHINGTON — Senator John Thune, along with Senators Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Marco Rubio of Florida, introduced legislation Wednesday that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs an Department of Defense to modify language used on official forms to clarify the information required when a service member elects to have their GI Bill benefit transferred to a dependent.
Due to multiple examples of service members misreading the information requested in the GI Bill benefit transfer forms, eligible dependents are being barred from education benefits due to an easily amendable error.
“We owe veterans and their families more than we’ll ever actually be able to repay,” said Sen. Thune. “I am happy to join Senators Tuberville and Rubio in supporting this common-sense legislation that would cut through red tape and make it easier for veteran families to receive the benefits they so rightly deserve.”
The VA and DOD cannot amend the information on the form without this statutory authority.
U.S. Representatives Greg Murphy, M.D. of North Carolina, Cindy Axne of Iowa and David Trone of Maryland introduced the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives where the legislation is supported by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national organization focused on providing compassionate care for all those grieving the death of a military loved one.
A service member may transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child so long as the service member has done the following:
- Completed at least six years on the date the service member requests to transfer the benefit.
- Agreed to add four more years of service.
- The individual receiving the benefits has enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
Part of the transfer form requires the service member fill out a field labeled “end date” that refers to the date on which the benefit is no longer available to the dependent. Since this particular field is the cause of many incorrectly completed transfer forms, the bill would remove the “end date” to prevent further issues.
The benefit would then naturally expire on the dependent’s 26th birthday, per statute.