Foster’s Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Education Benefits for Military Families Passes House
WASHINGTON, DC - Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4625, the Protect GI Bill Act which included legislative language introduced by Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) earlier this year. This legislation would align definitions of an eligible child in the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense for the purposes of the education benefit transfer. Currently, veterans and service members receive education benefits that they can transfer to their children, but the discrepancy in the definitions across agencies has led to the denial of this benefit to military families. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
Under current law, the Department of Defense’s Title 10 includes wards and foster children in the definition of an eligible child while Title 38 in the Veterans Administration does not. This misalignment has led to a bureaucratic nightmare for some members of the armed services and their families. According to the Department of Defense, this discrepancy has led to cases where students who were originally approved for education benefits would have them revoked later and were notified mid-semester that they would have to repay tuition expenses. This legislation would correct this discrepancy and would prevent this situation from happening in the future.
“I am proud that the House passed this important bipartisan legislation to extend education benefits for military families,” Foster said. “Making sure our service members and their families receive the full benefits they were promised ought to be a priority. The GI Bill is a foundation of that promise and we need to rectify a loophole that is preventing military children from accessing the educational benefits their families have earned. I am grateful to Senator Durbin, Senator Duckworth, and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers for their support of this important legislation.”
This issue was first brought to Congressman Foster’s attention when a constituent who served in the military reached out to his office for assistance.
Text of the legislation is available here.