GI Bill Gets Revamped - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/12/08 - East Texas

GI Bill Gets Revamped

by Christa Lollis

After 64 years, the GI Bill has been upgraded, as President Bush signed off on the new benefits last week.

It's the first change in the GI Bill since it's conception in 1944. The new Webber GI Bill was created to offer better benefits to active military.

Local soldier, Sgt. Sota said, "They revamped the old one and it's a whole lot better so it takes care of us a whole lot better than the last one I think."

The new services will be offered to soldiers who have been active since September 10th 2001.

"That is applicable to any individual that serves 36 months or more on active duty. Now if an individual serves less than that they will get a prorated share of that amount," said Keith Wilson, Education Services Director for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The soldiers will even get a housing allowance that could be as much as $2,600 a month. They'll also see an increase in tuition assistance, and that can be transferred to their dependents if they've been active for at least 6 years.

"It's gonna allow the service members to be able to take care of their spouses and of their kids after a certain amount of time that they've been in, cause a lot of service members don't actually take advantage of the old Montgomery GI Bill and just kind of goes away," Sota said.

The Department of Veterans Afairs hopes more soldiers take advantage and enroll in classes.

"It's something that's been a long time coming," Wilson said. "It's great to be able to offer a program like this to veterans but its gonna be a challenge as well. We've got a lot to do in the next year."

The new benefits will begin on August first of 2009.

For more information about the changes to the bill, go to the Department of Veterans Affairs website at www.gibill.va.gov.

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