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AUDIO: Foster, Veterans Advocates Discuss GI Education Benefits Fairness Act

Nov 25, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today Congressman Bill Foster and veterans advocates held a press conference call to discuss the GI Education Benefits Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to support military families by extending GI education benefits to the wards and foster children of our soldiers.

Rep. Foster introduced the legislation Friday, along with Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05).

Audio of the call is available here.

More information on the legislation is available here.

Rep. Foster was joined on the call by Sergeant First Class Angela Dees.  Dees, a Joliet native, is a training developer for the US Army Aviation School at Fort Eustis in Virginia. 

The idea for the legislation came when Angela contacted Rep. Foster’s office after her son Christopher Webb, a legal ward, was approved for GI benefits, then later told they would be revoked. 

“Children of the men and women who serve honorably shouldn’t be denied the benefits they were promised because of a bureaucratic oversight,” said Foster.  “These servicemen and women have honored the promise they made to serve our country, we need to honor the promises we make to them.”

“All I can do is hope that Congress will see what an injustice this is to these poor kids, support Congressman Foster’s bill and take action to fix it. This is not Christopher’s fault or any of the other kids in this situation.  He trusted me, and I trusted that he would be taken care of,” said Dees.

“I had straight As, I graduated third in my class and I had no other funding available – I didn’t think that I would need it.  So for that to be taken away after I was already in school is heartbreaking.  I think this legislation is very important, not only to me, but to hundreds of other kids that have been or will be affected,” said Webb. 

“We know that the GI Bill and the ability to transfer those benefits has been so important to so many military families, and did not want families such as Sergeant First Class Dees to be left out of that important benefit.  We recognize that military families take all shapes and sizes and that all military kids need and deserve a quality education, and that includes a college education.  We are very much in favor of the ability of service members who have done so much for their country to be able to transfer those valuable benefits to their spouses and to their kids,” said Eileen Huck, National Military Family Association.

“On behalf of MOAA (Military Officers Association of America), I would like to express our support for Representative Foster’s bipartisan bill, the GI Education Benefits Fairness Act… Representative Foster’s bill would fix the discrepancy between the DOD’s definition of a child and the VA’s definition of a child, which we believe is a fair and reasonable solution to this erroneous oversight in the law,” said Karen Golden, Military Officers Association of America.

“I am glad that this bill has come forward with bipartisan support and is essentially a no-brainer in fixing this part of the law,” said Jacob Zimmerman, Superintendent, Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission.