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What You Need to Know About the Forever GI Bill

Military veterans may have heard about the “Forever GI Bill”. You might be wondering, “What is it and what does it mean for me?”   To summarize, the bill allows military veterans to receive benefits for education- for life. The most recent version of the bill was signed in 2017 by President Trump to make these benefits more accessible.   Recently, the bill was updated to include benefits for students whose schools switched to online classes as a result of the pandemic. That’s great news if you’re currently in school!

So, what is the GI Bill’s Purpose?

The GI Bill was first signed in 1944 by Franklin D. Roosevelt and has gone through many changes.   After being updated in 2017, the 15-year limit on receiving educational benefits was removed- meaning that you can always use the GI Bill, depending on when you were discharged.   The main purpose of the bill is to provide educational benefits to military veterans. You or your spouse could receive assistance in the form of; money for housing, money for books or other supplies, money for tuition, or fees.  

Can I Get These Benefits?

It mainly depends on when you served in the military. If your active duty ended on or before January of 2013, you qualify. Any time before then, you would qualify for benefits from the Post 9/11 GI Bill- meaning you would have a 15-year limit to receive benefits.  

How do Changes Affect Me?

The changes made to the GI Bill came into effect in August of 2018. The 15-year limit was removed and eligibility for benefits was increased.   With the time limit removed, you no longer need to stress about when you, or your family, plan to attend college. You can start at any time that feels right to you and still get the benefits!  

The Bill Expands Yellow Ribbon Coverage

The Yellow Ribbon Program is meant to help pay for education costs that the Post 9/11 GI Bill can’t cover. Under that bill, active-duty members could not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.   However, the updated Forever GI Bill will allow those on active duty to use their benefits! This will come into effect in August 2022. Purpleheart recipients also are now eligible for this program.  

What if my School Closes?

This is a common worry with COVID-19 among current students. Many schools have switched to virtual classes, while some had to close entirely.   If your school were to shut down mid-semester, your benefits will be restored. You don’t have to worry about “wasting” any of your resources!  

More Benefits for More Programs

The updated bill now offers more benefits for more programs, including independent study and STEM programs.  

Summary

The updated Forever GI Bill is there to offer educational benefits to you and your family. The most impressive feature is that your eligibility will never expire- giving the bill its name.   You can make use of these benefits at any time!

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