President Signs GI Bill Favoring Guardsmen

Washington Report

(August 22, 2017) The new GI Bill signed last week by President Donald Trump has much in it for National Guard members to like, including parity with active-component troops while mobilized under 12304b status.

Until the president signed his name, reserve-component troops serving under 12304b in places like Sinai, Kosovo and Eastern Europe did not receive credit for GI Bill benefits. But that benefit was included in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, which also makes the benefit retroactive to 2012, when the mobilization authority was created.

The legislation was a NGAUS priority. The association began gathering supporters on Capitol Hill early in the year.

“This is a substantial victory for NGAUS,” said retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, the association president. “It shows that members of Congress are willing to set aside their differences when they understand how legislation affects men and women in uniform.”

Other provisions in the law that is the first update of the GI Bill since the Post 9/11 GI Bill passed in 2008 include:

  • An end to the 15-year time limit to use the benefit, which now has no deadline, giving it the nickname the “Forever GI Bill.” This portion of the law applies to anyone who left the military after Jan. 1, 2013;
  • Anyone who received a Purple Heart after Sept. 11, 2001, will receive 100 percent of the benefits offered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill starting in August 2018. This does away with a requirement that recipients of the medal must have served 36 months on active duty;
  • Veterans attending a school that closes will have their benefits restored. This applies to anyone affected by a school closure since January 2015;
  • New time-of-service eligibility calculations by the Department of Veterans Affairs will increase the education benefit for troops who serve a limited time on active duty;
  • Reserve-component members will be able to count time spent recovering from injuries or wounds received while on active duty toward GI Bill eligibility. This starts next August; and
  • Greater flexibility is allowed in transferring the education benefit after the death of a dependent who had been given the benefit.

A complete list of benefits and instructions on how to take advantage of the new law is available at is external)