S.3447 GI Bill Reform = GI Bill Cuts

21

I called my dad the other day when I heard the good news. “Dad, guess what? I just read how the government fixed the GI Bill by cutting benefits to all veterans using educational benefits. Surprise!” But, all veterans on almost every educational and rehabilitation program will see their total yearly stipend payouts dip because “Interval Pay” (pay between terms like Fall and Spring) has been almost completely cut. For full-time students attending year round, the yearly cut will be approximately 20 percent. So, a GI Bill veteran receiving $1,300 per month will really receive $1,050 per month when you average in 12 months of stipend after subtracting 10 weeks of previously received interval pay. A Pre-9/11 veteran with no dependents using Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment will see $554 drop to $450, over 12 months. No wonder the Act was able to get passed last December. They scalped $2 billion off the price tag. Yet another way America thanks you and your family for your sacrifices. Just don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

What does this mean? On average, a veteran attending college year round will have 10 weeks per year between classes. The Act cuts all interval payments between classes except for national emergencies and Executive Order, removing the old standard that paid a stipend over shorter breaks between fall, spring and summer semesters, for full-time students. When aggregated, the GI Bill veteran loses $3,000 per year, decreasing the $1,300 stipend to $1,050 per month. The Pre-9/11 Voc Rehab veteran loses $1,300 per year, decreasing the $554 stipend to $450 per month. And sadly, the Pre-9/11 veterans don’t even get to take advantage of any of the Act’s benefits. Not one.

The math. GI Bill stipend avg: 12 months x $1,300 = $15,600. $15,600 / 52 weeks per year = $300 per week. Weeks of transition: 4 between Fall/Spring; 3 between Spring/Summer; 3 between Summer/Fall = 10 weeks. 10 weeks x $300 = $3,000 per year reduction.

In S.3447Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, there are many new, fandangled improvements. The biggest that caught my attention was Section 205 of the bill addressing Post-9/11 disabled veterans using Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment. For these veterans, they can choose to receive the equivalent to E-5 with dependents BAH pay.

The majority of the cuts to pay for the “improvements” came from a severe limitation of the Interval Payment totaling over $2 billion. This is the payment veterans receive in between semesters so that they don’t have to go into debt while in school to pay things like rent and child support. The new rule changes the payment so that it “would be paid out very rarely.” Congress decided veterans don’t need the money. And the cut does not just apply to Post-9/11 veterans eligible for the new GI Bill. It applies to practically all veterans, even the ones receiving the paltry $554 per month who are not eligible for the BAH increase.

The background was that the different between the GI Bill stipend amount and the Voc Rehab stipend amount was pushing a lot of disabled veterans to use the GI Bill and miss out on the specialized help some veterans get from Voc Rehab. You’re talking $1300 per month (national average GI Bill) versus $554 (Voc Rehab veteran with no dependents). While the veteran is eligible for both programs, they can opt for the BAH amount. Once they are no longer eligible for the GI Bill (after 36 months), then what happens? Assumedly, they go back down the Voc Rehab rate, which is $554 per month. Not too great, especially when most students are unable to finish college within the allotted 36-month window, much less students who need extra schooling to accommodate for their disabilities.

Luckily, Uncle Sam had a solution. Senator Akaka and the Committee were:

“concerned that, since the months of educational assistance available to eligible veterans and others is, in most cases, equal to the number of months needed to attain an educational objective, using entitlement for months during which a student is not actively pursuing an educational goal unnecessarily uses months of entitlement that could be otherwise utilized and results in the student’s inability to complete an educational objective with available assistance.”

Done and done. Yet another example of our great government looking out for the little guy, right?

But all of us know that when you hear the words, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help,” run away. Yes, in S.3447 there are numerous “readjustments” to the original Post-9/11 GI Bill that needed to be made to make it “more equitable.” In fact, to make it fairer, Congress cut $2.3 billion from the benefit. “Huh,” I thought to myself, “seems like ‘Improvements’ was added to the title of the Act to merely be ironic.” If the Act is intended to help veterans better use their 36 months of GI Bill, then how does the Congressional Budget Office know they will “save” $2 billion with the adjustment? The short answer: they anticipate veterans will not use the full 36 months; otherwise, there would be no savings.

Richard
Richard

????

Is that $17,500.00 per year or semester?

Ben Krause

That is per year. Down from $20,000.

Thomas
Thomas

What about the non-average student who goes to class from January through December NON-stop?
Where in the GI Bill contract I signed does it state “benefits may very”?
Maybe Congress should cut their pay because Americans decided they don’t need the money!

Jerry Burns
Jerry Burns
This bill is outrageous. Veterans were told if they would provide for the defense of our country the country would be there for them. Over the past 65 years, veterans, because of the GI bill, have increased incomes, paid more in taxes and raised the standard of living for all Americans. Now, because of the inability of our so called leaders, they once again must bear the burden of being the ones to suffer. Congress must restore these benefits.
Jeff McNeill
Jeff McNeill

I only just able to make my bills on the small amount they give me now. am I supposed to get a part time job for a week during spring break? And, when the summer break hits I will be forced to drop out of the program and find a full time job. well, there goes my dream of a college education.

Tabitha
Tabitha
I’m a single disabled veteran and mother of a autistic five year old. For sone reason the Army dropped my eligibility for the GI bill so I went to Voc rehab and have to deal with the lousy 345$ a month for three classes a semester and the 600 and some change for full tine during the fall and spring semester. That doesn’t even cover all the day care or gas I have to pull from my disability to finish… Read more »
brian
brian

HI am 60% rated how can I apply or can I apply for ssi or social security disablity you can or anyone can email me at [email protected]
subject SSI thanks

Jason
Jason

Can you help me understand this……I get Voc Rehab now. If I opt for BAH, will that go away until the Post 911 discontinues after the 36 months? Or do I get both of those allowances during that period and jsut the GI bill discontinues? Hope you can get what I am trying to say.

sandy
sandy

U use your 911 gill bill but don’t use it all save a week entitlement then when u go to voc rehab they can pay u your bah rate from post go bill. But if u exhaust your go bill you get the lower rate which is I think the Montgomery rate
. I may have the long rate think wrong but the saving a week part I got straight from vrap.

David
David
I was told that if I use up my GI bill then I can no longer use Voc Rehab, so I never officially enrolled. I have 6 months left of post 9/11, but 9 months left of school (if I’m lucky). I was just told by a fellow vet that the rules had changed for Voc rehab-that it no longer cuts into your GI bill that it now pays e5 pay with dependents, which sounded crazy to me at the… Read more »
trackback

[…] Posted at Disable America Veterans […]

Annie O
Annie O
Please stop whining and be grateful that we get a cost of living stipend and free state tuition as well as a pretty good chunk towards private tuition and a book stipend! this generation is so entitled, I would have reenlisted if I wasnt so tired of younger troops always crying and acting like spoiled brats when they had to lift a finger.. The Vietnam vets didn’t whine and claim PTSD when they went to war and they sure as… Read more »
jose d
jose d
This is to Annie O the woman who thinks she knows everything, and any other so called “vet” that never saw real combat. It is so called veterans like you that get on my nerves u sit up here and talk this big game about how we need to stop whining about the cut backs on our gi bill, and how we need to be grateful, and how vietnam vets didnt whine and all this other stuff. let me start… Read more »
jose d
jose d
This is to Annie O the woman who thinks she knows everything, and any other so called “vet” that never saw real combat. It is so called veterans like you that get on my nerves u sit up here and talk this big game about how we need to stop whining about the cut backs on our gi bill, and how we need to be grateful, and how vietnam vets didnt whine and all this other stuff. let me start… Read more »
John
John
I second Thomas’s remark.. As for Annie’s insensitive reply: Whining? Crying PTSD? You are not even considering the context of the era. No one knew what PTSD was at the time. You claim that no one owes us anything. That is funny.. because for a lot of us, we enlisted FOR the GI Bill in its ENTIRETY. Perhaps you have assistance outside of the BAH, but for some of us, we depend on it for our expenses. If you ask… Read more »
John
John
Annie you are a idiot and you need to spend some time at your nearest VA. Hospital there you will find so mn vietnam vets it overwhelming. Ptsd was not reconized back then, if it was we wouldn’t have hospitals full of vietnam vets that can not function in society. I can’t stand people like you. I bet the reason your soldier we’re always complaining probably has something to do with your attitude and lack of knowledge, I can tell… Read more »
Caprice Manos
Caprice Manos
I will refrain from calling people names because it’s not necessary here on this site. However, I just got word from the VA that my BAH goes to 674.00 per mo, from 901.00 per mo. just because I’m fully online now. Online is MUCH harder than just showing to class and having the option to “zone out” while your professor is speaking. There is more work involved in online. People view online wrongly. They think online is nothing. I have… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
Sorry, but all of us veterans DO deserve and are OWED an education. Who better to be educated than those of us already disciplined and dedicated to our country, the United States of America? We are only asking for what has already been agreed upon. Quoting President Obama- There’s a shortage of engineers in most of the country, however. “We’re falling behind in the very fields that we know are going to be our future,” . ( A couple of… Read more »
Tia
Tia
I wish I would have fought to stay in after being medically retired with asthma. The way the education office made the 9/11 GI Bill sound is nothing what it actually is in reality. My family and I are close to having our vehicles repossessed because of the VA’s incompetence in paying our housing stipend/work study paychecks on time/correctly. Also, how does Congress expect families to pay their rent during the holiday breaks? Living in a town that has one… Read more »
sandy
sandy
So I used both forms of GI Bill montgomery and post 9/11. Honestly the post 9/11 is awesome even with the cutbacks. The mongomery gi bill made it impossible to attend school u didn’t get any money on it til you completed a whole semester first. So that being said its a good benefit. PTSD started begin diagnosed during Vietnam war because of our bothers who lead the one. Its disrespectful to all of us to try to compare current… Read more »
Kaela Creighton
Kaela Creighton
They have special squads that go around and dumb us down so that we can’t complete the education but still have some ability to do lay work–so they think. Basically, they find these angry individuals that really hate us and they justify their actions from their own miserable personal experiences. The problem with this is that it makes us disabled a lot of times. Since these people have never worked, they don’t understand what it takes. I mean, they passed… Read more »
wpDiscuz