The Forever GI Bill®, formally known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, expands education benefits for veterans, servicemembers and their families. Colmery, a former American Legion national commander, wrote the original language of the GI Bill in 1944, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Some of the changes brought about from the passage of the Forever GI Bill:
- Streamlined process: The law calls for upgrading the VA’s information technology system to keep schools updated on the amount of education benefits available to students, and also provides training requirements for school officials who verify education benefits. Those provisions take effect Aug. 1, 2018.
- No more time limits, depending on date of discharge: Veterans discharged on or after Jan. 1, 2013, have no time limit to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Veterans discharged before Jan. 1, 2013, have 15 years to use their benefits.
- Purple Heart recipients: Starting Aug. 1, 2018, servicemembers and honorably discharged veterans awarded a Purple Heart after Sept. 11, 2001, can receive benefits at the 100% level for up to 36 months.
- REAP eligibility: Reservists who lost their REAP eligibility when the program ended can now have their service credited to the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
- Yellow Ribbon benefits extended: Purple Heart recipients will be eligible to receive additional funds for tuition and fees that exceed Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, as of Aug. 1, 2018. Active-duty servicemembers will be eligible as of Aug. 1, 2022.
For full details, including all the benefit levels based on length of service, check out the Forever GI Bill page on the VA website.
*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.