WASHINGTON – Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) introduced a piece of veterans legislation designed to fix a loophole in GI Bill benefits. The loophole was brought to their attention by the American Legion.
Department of Defense statistics from 2017 show that 70-percent of new servicemembers still pay $1,200 to keep their Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) eligibility even though a significant majority later opt to use the free and more robust Post-9/11 GI Bill.
As the law is currently written, veterans who have fully exhausted their MGIB or Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are eligible to have their $1200 refunded if they previously signed up for MGIB. However, active duty servicemembers who exhaust their MGIB are being cheated out of their $1200 because current law ties the refund payment to the final Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly stipend payment, which they do not receive. This bill would ensure all eligible servicemembers and veterans will get their full refund.
“I thank the American Legion for bringing this loophole to our attention, and I thank Rep. Rose for partnering with me to write a bill that would fix it. Receiving GI Bill benefits shouldn’t become a headache for those serving our country,” said Rep. Banks, who served in the Navy and deployed to Afghanistan.
“We already ask our servicemembers to put their lives on the line when they enlist. When they come home, they shouldn’t have jump through hoops for benefits and forfeit their hard-earned money simply because of Washington bureaucracy,” said Congressman Max Rose, an Army combat veteran. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort to eliminate this loophole and put all of our veterans on the same footing for the benefits they deserve.”
Said Ranking Member Phil Roe, “Servicemembers who elect to the use the Montgomery GI Bill make the same investment in their education as veterans and they deserve to receive the same return on that investment. Congressman Banks’ bill would make sure that they do and I thank him for working to ensure equal education benefits are available to active-duty servicemembers and veterans.”