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SGT-JOHN-ADDY
07-04-08, 08:14 AM
WASHINGTON - President Bush today signed legislation ushering in a new era in GI Bill benefits. The legislation, which the Senate last week passed overwhelmingly, is part of a $162 billion war spending bill.
"We are very excited that after 18 months of working on the GI Bill that it's been passed into law," said Patrick Campbell, legislative director for IAVA. "Now veterans everywhere will see their opportunities greatly expanded."
Video: Bush Signs $162 Billion War Spending Bill (http://player.clipsyndicate.com/view/402/633344)
The administration has opposed the new GI Bill on the grounds it would be too expensive, while the Pentagon has been concerned the more generous benefits - including a free four-year college degree program - would inspire more Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines to leave after their initial enlistment.
But in signing the bill today, Bush praised the bill, including a provision favored by the Pentagon that permits veterans to transfer unused benefits to spouses and children.
"We also owe a debt of gratitude to our nation's military families. They endure sleepless nights, and the daily struggle of caring for children while a loved one is serving far from home," he said. "So I'm pleased that the bill I sign today includes an expansion of the GI Bill. This legislation will make it easier for our troops to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses and children."
Bush said the expanded benefits will help "to recruit and reward the best military on the face of the Earth."
The new GI Bill was framed by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who has long argued that veterans deserve benefits that match those given to World War II vets. Then, returning GIs were covered for the full cost of tuition and books for whatever college they entered; in addition they were paid a monthly stipend.
Under the new GI Bill, payment rates will go up, but will be based on the college or university costs in the service member's state of residence. Eligible students also will receive a monthly stipend for books of up to $1,000 per year and a monthly housing allowance of about $1,000. The housing stipend will be tied to the Pentagon's basic allowance for housing rates.
The new education benefits are forecasted to go into effect in mid-2009 and will be available to all servicemembers and veterans -- including members of the Guard and Reserve -- who have served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001. The benefits are paid in increments which are determined by the amount of time served on active duty.
The bill passed by Congress also provides a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits and $2.7 billion in emergency flood relief for the Midwest.
The spending bill will bring to more than $650 billion the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war since it started more than five years ago. For operations in Afghanistan, the total is nearly $200 billion, according to congressional officials.

SGT-JOHN-ADDY
07-04-08, 08:16 AM
DOES THIS MEAN ANYONE THAT HAS SERVED SINCE 9/11/01 IS ENTITLED TO THIS.

The new education benefits are forecasted to go into effect in mid-2009 and will be available to all servicemembers and veterans -- including members of the Guard and Reserve -- who have served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001. The benefits are paid in increments which are determined by the amount of time served on active duty.

thewookie
07-04-08, 08:50 AM
DOES THIS MEAN ANYONE THAT HAS SERVED SINCE 9/11/01 IS ENTITLED TO THIS.

The new education benefits are forecasted to go into effect in mid-2009 and will be available to all servicemembers and veterans -- including members of the Guard and Reserve -- who have served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001. The benefits are paid in increments which are determined by the amount of time served on active duty.

Yes, it's specifically, and only for service members who served post 911.

It's too bad they took so much time to do this, but for the most part, from the research I have done, it's a good thing.

One of the big changes under the new Bill that is controversial for a number of reasons; they pay the school directly instead of the student. I'm using the Chapter 30 GI Bill and they pay me directly, and then I pay the school. (so I can pocket any difference)

Another difference is you do not have to pony up $1,200 upfront to be eligible, but those who already ponied it up will not get a refund. Basically if you served 90 days or more after 911, you are eligible. (with certain stipulations)

This new bill (Chapter 33) doesn't effect those of us on Ch. 30 except that as of September the maxed out payment you'll get is $1,321, instead of $1,101.

Unfortunately for me I'll reach my 10 years out of service in February(Ch.30 is only good for 10 yrs after you get out, Ch.33 is good for 15 years and is transferable to wives and kids,) so my source of funds is going to be shut off soon, unless they grant me an extension, but I'm working on that.