San Diego

Veterans Committee Passes Bill to Give All Purple Heart Recipients Post-9/11 GI Benefits

About 1,200 to 1,500 Purple Heart recipients have not qualified for post-9/11 GI benefits previously.

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs passed a bill Wednesday that will allow all Purple Heart recipients to gain access to post-9/11 GI benefits, if it's signed into law.

The bill would allow all honorably discharged Purple Heart recipients access to post-9/11 GI benefits, according to a U.S. Congressman Scott Peter's representative. They can access those benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs' Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program.

Currently, post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits only apply to a veteran that completed at least 36 months of active duty or is medically retired, said the representative.

Previously, some Purple Heart recipients have been discharged without reaching the full 36 months of service requirement, making them ineligible for full benefits.

That applied to about 1,200 to 1,500 Purple Heart recipients, and any future veterans who would experience the same problem, said the representative.

"Purple Heart recipients have made some of the most tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation. They earned these benefits through their service and this critical fix helps us fulfill our promise to our nation’s heroes," said Rep. Peters, in a statement.

"Whether veterans use these benefits to fund college classes, vocational school or on-the-job training, this bill will make it easier for them to get the skills and training they need to transition to civilian life."

If the bill passes the House of Representatives, the Senate and is signed into law by President Donald Trump, it will allow Purple Heart recipients to access all the benefits they earned, said the representative.

"If you’ve risked life and limb for our country, and come home with the scars to prove it, our country owes you a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid," said Rep. Brian Mast, a U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, in a statement.

"Providing a high-quality education to these heroes is the least we can do, which is why I’m proud to lead this effort to ensure that every single Purple Heart recipient who is honorably discharged is eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding."

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