Forever GI Bill - Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” named after the American Legion national commander who wrote the original GI Bill language in 1944 was signed into law in 2017. This legislation contains 34 new provisions, the vast majority of which enhanced or expanded education benefits for Veterans, Servicemembers, Families and Survivors.
Most notably, Veterans who transitioned out of the military after January 1, 2013 will not be limited to the 15-year deadline to use their GI Bill benefits – hence the bill’s nickname, “Forever GI Bill.” This law also restores benefits to Veterans, who were impacted by school closures since 2015, and expands benefits for our reservists, surviving dependents, Purple Heart recipients, and provides many other improvements.
Effective Aug. 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented 15 more provisions. These provisions, in addition to the 13 implemented since the law was signed will have an immediate and positive impact on Veterans and their families using VA benefits to pursue their educational goals.
“We are excited to get the word out about implementation of the provisions,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “From the day the Forever GI Bill was signed into law, VA, in collaboration with Veterans service organizations, state approving agencies and school certifying officials, has taken an expansive approach to ensure earned benefits are provided to Veterans in a timely, high-quality and efficient way.”
Provisions that began Aug. 1, 2018 include:
• Recipients of a Purple Heart awarded on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are now eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for up to 36 months.
• Military and Veteran families who have lost a family member can now reallocate transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
• Additional Guard and Reserve service now counts toward Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility.
• Post-9/11 GI Bill students may now receive monthly housing allowance for any days they are not on active duty, rather than having to wait until the next month.
• Expansion of the Yellow Ribbon Program, which makes additional funds available for GI Bill students, now covers more students.
More provisions are scheduled related to science, technology, engineering and math benefit extensions; increased benefit levels; a pilot program for high-technology training geared toward “upskilling” Veterans to enter the workforce quickly; and another expansion of the Yellow Ribbon Program, some of which were implemented on Aug. 1, 2022. For more details, visit www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/ForeverGIBill.asp