Higgins introduces Veterans Education Flexibility Actby jmaloni
Bill would remove expiration dates on GI Bill education benefits
Congressman Brian Higgins was joined by veterans at Daemen College in Amherst to announce the introduction of H.R. 2169, the Veterans Education Flexibility Act.
"GI Bill benefits should not come with an expiration date," Higgins said. "We should instead provide our veterans greater flexibility in accessing their earned educational benefits. Caring for our veterans should be far more than simply thanking them for their service. The obligation runs deeper than that. We must do what we can to provide our veterans with the skills and training they need to fill both the jobs of today and tomorrow."
Under the Montgomery and Post-Vietnam GI bills, veterans have up to 10 years to use their education benefits. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, they have 15 years. The congressman's bill would remove these expiration dates and retroactively provide veterans with access to education benefits that have already expired.
Higgins said many veterans postpone further education to join the workforce and support their families, or are faced with lengthy rehabilitations from service-related injuries.
The legislation would allow service members and veterans to who were eligible for the Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty (MGIB-AD), or Post-9/11 GI Bill to get the education and job training they have earned, at a pace that makes sense for a 21st Century workforce, Higgins' camp said.
"We applaud Rep. Higgins in working to bring veterans lifelong benefits through the G.I. Bill," said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. "This legislation will help to ensure that our veterans receive the critical educational benefits they need and deserve as they transition out of the military into their communities."
Daemen College participates in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program and was recognized for three straight years as a "Top Military Friendly College" by Military Advanced Education magazine.
June 22 marked the 69th anniversary of the day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Serviceman's Readjustment Act, commonly known as the GI Bill. June 30 served as the five-year anniversary of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which Higgins supported.
More information on education benefits available to veterans can be found at: http://www.gibill.va.gov/.