Tester Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Expand GI Bill Benefits for Montana Guardsmen and Reservists

(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester recently introduced bipartisan legislation to expand GI Bill benefits to select National Guard and Reserve duty statuses.

The Senator’s Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty (GRAD) Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational Assistance Parity Act would permit additional federal active duty service performed by guardsmen and reservists under certain duty statuses to count towards their GI Bill eligibility.

“Members of the National Guard and Reserve deserve GI benefits that reflect their increased services to our nation,” said Tester. “These brave men and women continue to answer the call of duty, now more than ever, but their benefits aren’t keeping pace. Our bipartisan bill will begin to right this wrong by ensuring all federally activated members receive the education benefits they are owed.”

“After all the hard work and sacrifice we’ve seen from our National Guard in the post 9-11 era, it’s past time that we give equal accrual of Post 9-11 G.I. Bill benefits,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association of the U.S. “Most Americans would be shocked that often times the men and women of the National Guard don’t earn educational benefits simply because of the type of military orders they are deployed on. This legislation fixes that and we applaud it. Thank you to Senators Jerry Moran and Jon Tester on their continued steadfast support of the National Guard and Reserves.”

State active duty orders or inactive duty training would not count towards GI Bill eligibility.

Tester has continuously worked to modernize and strengthen education benefits for veterans and their families. In 2019, he introduced the Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability Entitlement Act to ensure that every veteran with at least 10 years of service is able to transfer their educational benefits to dependents. He also fought to cut down on excessive bureaucracy through his bipartisan GI Bill Work Study Improvement Act, which streamlines the processing and administration of VA benefits through the VA Work-Study Allowance Program. The program allows student veterans—whether on campus, at VA facilities or at other veteran-centered organizations—to earn money at a second job while getting an education.

Full text of the Senator’s bill can be found HERE.