The Post-9/11 GI Bill or New GI Bill is the most extensive educational assistance program since the original GI Bill enacted during World War II. The new program provides educational benefits to members of the military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as veterans from those conflicts.
The New GI Bill program is complex, and any questions about individual benefits under the program are best answered by a VA education specialist.
To reach a VA benefit specialist call: 1-888-GIBILL (1-888-442-4551)
Implementing a program as ambitious as the New GI Bill was an enormous undertaking. VA faced significant challenges in its early efforts to provide benefits to the thousands of veterans who sought educational assistance. During the 110th Congress, the Committee received complaints from numerous veterans, many stemming from the backlog in processing claims, others relating to benefit restrictions.
On April 21, 2010, the Committee held an oversight hearing to examine challenges that VA and DOD encountered in implementing the New GI Bill and the steps that each department took to address those problems.
CLICK HERE to view hearing
Following the April 2010 hearing, then-Chairman Akaka introduced S. 3447, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, to address concerns raised at the hearing and afterwards by veterans and stakeholder organizations.
On July 21, 2010, the Committee held a hearing S. 3447. Committee Members heard from several witnesses, including representatives of VA, DOD, veterans’ service organizations, an educational institution, and representatives of the commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service.
Committee members, including Senator Murray, then a senior member of the Committee, also raised issues of concern:
"Veterans have told me, as well, about being unable to use their GI Bill benefits for apprenticeship programs… I, too, have heard from veterans who were not able to use the benefits to pay for needed distance learning education programs." --Senator Murray
CLICK HERE to view hearing
The Senate approved S. 3447 on December 13, 2010, and the House of Representatives voted for passage of the bill on December 16, 2010. President Barack Obama signed this legislation into law as Public Law 111-377 on January 4, 2011.
"This new package makes it easier for some veterans to use their benefits to pay for tuition at public and private universities, and others who want to enroll in training programs that will place them directly in the workforce, helping us get our economy back on track." – Senator Murray
CLICK HERE to view press release
The law’s major provisions include the following:
• extend eligibility for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill to individuals ordered to full-time National Guard duty by the President or the Secretary of Defense under section 502(f) of title 32, U.S.C.;
• provide that Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits may be used at institutions other than institutions of higher learning;
• authorize payment of up to a $1,000 annual book allowance to students in programs of education not leading to a college degree, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.
• provide for up to a $1,000 annual book allowance for active duty students; and,
• authorize the payment of a living stipend for on–line students (if it is for more than half-time) that is 50 percent of the national average of the monthly housing allowance paid to on-campus students.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded eligibility for disability compensation due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) for veterans who served in Vietnam’s offshore waters. This is welcome news for Blue Water veterans whose claims for compensation benefits had been denied under VA’s earlier more restrictive definition of the disease.
Background: The term NHL includes a number of different conditions that may be categorized differently under various medical classification systems. Recently, VA expanded its definition of NHL to include chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small-cell lymphocytic lymphoma, two conditions that VA previously contended were unrelated.
Grants of Service Connection under the Provisions of 38 CFR § 3.313
Under the provisions of 38 CFR § 3.313, Veterans who served in Vietnam, including service in the waters offshore, are entitled to a presumption of service connection for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
We have received questions about the connection between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and small-cell lymphocytic lymphoma. Discussions with medical professionals at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and with our attorneys at the Office of General Counsel (OGC) led to the conclusion that these diseases should all be considered the same disease for purposes of § 3.313. We will update the manual to reflect this determination.
Excerpt from VA’s Compensation and Pension Bulletin Addendum, May 2011