Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-09) recently supported passage of the new G.I. Bill which was passed by Congress and signed into law this week by President Bush as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill.
The new G.I. Bill has been described as one of the single most significant veteran benefits bills to be proposed in the last 50 years and provides numerous benefits to returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. Service men and women who have served three years or more of active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan since September 11, 2001 would be eligible for full, four-year scholarships up to the level of the most expensive in-state public college, covering 100 percent of tuition, fees, and books. In addition, those who have served between three months and three years of active duty would be eligible for a significant proportion of the full benefit.
Furthermore, the new G.I. Bill also allows additional payments for tutorial assistance, licensure, and certification tests and provides a monthly stipend equivalent to housing costs in the area. Notably, for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have been on active duty for more than 6 years since September 11th, the education benefits can also be transferred to that veteran’s children or spouse. Previously, under the old GI Bill, benefits covered only about 60% of tuition costs and had not kept pace with the rising cost of college; the new G.I. Bill doubles these benefits from approximately $9,000 to $18,000 per year.
"This new G.I. Bill is not only the right thing to do for our men and women in uniform, it also sends the right message to our young people, our future veterans- that America places a high value on voluntary military service, including the National Guard and Reserves," Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said. "The way we treat our Veterans, our National Guard and Reservists signifies our respect for them and their families."
The Supplemental Spending Bill also allocates $2.2 billion to fully fund military quality of life initiatives, including $863 million for military hospitals and $396 for VA hospitals and VA polytrauma centers. The bill also provides $210 million to fund military daycare centers.
The new G.I. Bill was warmly and widely by the veterans' community.
"This bill is a great way to say thank you to the men and women currently serving in the military," Tom Lyons said. "It is a credit to Congressman Lynch and our elected officials that these education benefits were included in the recent supplemental spending bill. It will really make a difference to our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."
Similarly, Robert Gale, Director of Veterans Services for the City of Brockton, added, "I am extremely happy that Congress has deemed it appropriate to support our returning veterans so they may return to civilian life with the opportunity to attend college. Not only will this help our veterans, but it will benefit our entire country."
“Congressman Lynch has been working on behalf of veterans since he first took office and he understands the needs of the veterans’ community,” said Ted Mulvehill, Director of Veterans Services for the Town of Norwood. “This is another job well done.”