Court Ruling May Entitle Millions of Vets to Additional Education Benefits
PUBLISHED BY: David W. Magann, PA
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 7, 2021 – Education benefits are one of the most valuable veteran benefits for many young service members. The possibility of attending school on the government’s dime is a significant factor for many who end up joining the military.
However, in recent years, the two main education benefit bills presented new service members with confusing options. Historically, the Montgomery GI Bill was the sole education benefit offered to veterans. The Montgomery GI Bill provided up to $5,400 in education benefits, provided a service member pay into the program (they also need to meet other criteria).
More recently, Congress passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers greater available benefits in that it will cover full in-state tuition, as well as money for housing, books, supplies, and a one-time moving expense for those relocating from a rural area.
Despite the significant difference in benefits, many members continued to enroll in both programs. However, when it came time to tap into the benefits, 94 percent of all service members who qualified for the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill choose the latter. The Department of Veterans Affairs prohibited service members from taking both sets of benefits.
The result was that service members were paying into the Montgomery GI Bill program and not taking the benefits. This was partly because most service members sign up for GI benefits when they first join the service, and they are uninformed about the different types of benefits.
However, a federal court recently issued an opinion rejecting the Department of Veterans Affairs’ interpretation of the law limiting service members from taking only one type of education benefit. Rudisill vs. McDonough was bought by Jim Rudisill, an Army veteran wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2005. He argued that the VA policy was based on a misreading of the law by department officials.
The federal court agreed, holding that Rudisill should not have been forced to give up eligibility for either program and should be entitled to 48 months of GI education benefits. This is equal to the existing cap on total government higher education payouts under federal law.
As Florida veterans benefits attorney David W. Magann explains, “this new ruling will prevent thousands of new service members from paying into a program that they will very likely never use. To qualify for Montgomery GI Bill benefits, a service member must pay $1,200 in their first year of service. For some service members who are only making $20,000 to $30,000 in their first year of service, this is a major portion of their annual income.”
Attorney David Magann is a Florida Veterans’ benefits lawyer with extensive experience helping veterans, service members, and their family members obtain the benefits they are entitled to. Attorney Magann also helps veterans deal with the unique legal issues they face after leaving the service. As a proud Marine Corps veteran, attorney Magann has overcome many of those issues himself and takes pride in helping fellow veterans. Attorney Magann handles social security disability, estate planning, veterans’ law and personal injury law out of his Brandon and Tampa offices. He can be reached at http://www.tampaveteranslawyer.com/.Learn more at http://www.tampaveteranslawyer.com/ David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548