Over 54,000 IAVA Supporters Sign Petition Against GI Bill Transferability Changes
Washington, DC (September 19, 2018) – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, delivered a petition against the recent transferability changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill to the Department of Defense. We are joined by fellow Veteran and Military Service Organizations: the Non Commissioned Officers Association, the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association & Enlisted Association, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, and the Association of the United States Navy.
In July, the Department of Defense announced a change to the Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability to dependents. The policy change would allow only those with 16 years or less time served to transfer their GI Bill benefits. This was a change from the previous policy which had no maximum time limit for transferring GI Bill benefits.
This new restriction impacts service members with more than 16 years of service and is a completely unnecessary attack on this critical benefit, and ultimately hurts our military recruitment and readiness. In a time of war, it remains critically important to recruit and retain qualified service members, especially with an ever-decreasing pool of eligible recruits. And, it remains essential that our government honor it’s promise to our veterans.
Today, IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer delivered the petition, signed by 54,902 (and counting) supporters, veterans, and IAVA members to the Pentagon, letting Secretary Mattis know that this policy change is unacceptable. The petition, launched in partnership with Change.org, was signed by over 54,000 supporters, veterans, and IAVA members over a two month period and continues to grow. A full list of signatures is here.
This follows the delivery of two important letters to the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from the veteran community on concerns around the GI Bill’s implementation and protections for student veterans.
Addressed to Secretary DeVos, IAVA stood with Veterans Education Success and 26 military and veteran groups to urge the Education Department to strengthen, not discard, common-sense protections against waste, fraud, and abuse by bad actor colleges that would harm service members and veterans.
In addition, IAVA continues to work with Student Veterans of America to monitor implementation of the Harry W. Colmery Act provisions on the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Of concern, the VA is behind on technological changes needed to implement these changes. IAVA has signed on to a letter with 14 other Veteran Service Organization partners calling on the VA to provide correct and prompt GI Bill payments, provide greater communication to beneficiaries, provide reassurance on payment issues, and provide guidance on upcoming changes.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill has sent more than one million veterans to school. It has both helped these veterans in their transition home and trained America’s next greatest generation to lead in tech startups, Fortune 500 corporations, nonprofits, and at every level of government across the country.
IAVA continues to be at the forefront of the fight to #DefendTheGIBill. In 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill was created and supported with IAVA leadership and has now sent more than one million veterans to school. Last year, IAVA worked with VSO partners to pass the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, which included numerous expansions for the GI Bill, including elimination of the 15-year time limit to use the benefit.