Press Release: Tuberville Veterans Bill Passes Senate, Will Streamline Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits 

Senator Tuberville continues efforts to help military and veteran families

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) veterans bill (S. 3606) passed the U.S. Senate last night with unanimous support. The bill, which clarifies the information required on the post-9/11 GI Bill benefit transfer forms, is Senator Tuberville’s second piece of legislation to pass the Senate, after the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act passed in March. 

“As the son of a veteran and a grateful American, I want to ensure that our veterans and their families are well-taken care of, not the victims of bureaucratic red tape,” said Senator Tuberville. “This bill is another targeted, meaningful change that makes it easier for our veterans and their families to receive the benefits they so rightly deserve. I look forward to seeing this bill pass the House and sent to President Biden’s desk soon.”

BACKGROUND

After learning of a small, but correctable error that makes it difficult for dependents to receive their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, Senator Tuberville introduced legislation to fix the issue in February 2022. The bill clarifies the information required on U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) forms filled out by a service member when they elect to have their post-9/11 GI Bill benefit transferred to a dependent. Part of current VA and DoD transfer forms requires the service member to fill out a field labeled “end date,” which refers to the date on which the dependent may no longer receive the benefit.

There are multiple examples of service members misreading the information requested in the GI Bill benefit transfer forms, resulting in eligible dependents being barred from education benefits due to an easily amendable error. Since this field is the cause of many incorrectly completed transfer forms, Senator Tuberville’s bill would remove the “end date” to prevent further issues. The VA and DoD cannot amend the information on the form without this statutory authority. Specifically, this bill would allow a service member to transfer his or her Post-9/11 GI bill benefits to a spouse or child so long as the service member has done the following:

  • Completed at least 6 years on the date the service member requests to transfer the benefit, and
  • Agreed to add 4 more years of service, and
  • The individual receiving the benefits has enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

A bipartisan group of nine senators cosponsored the bill, including Senators John Thune (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Once the billpasses the U.S. House of Representatives, where it also has bipartisan support, it will head to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The state of Alabama is home to more than 400,000 veterans. Since assuming office, Senator Tuberville has been focused on identifying targeted, meaningful changes that can be made to how the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) delivers benefits and care to America’s veterans and service members. Along these lines, Senator Tuberville has introduced numerous pieces of legislation, including the Supporting Families of the Fallen ActHBOT Access Act of 2021,and Restoring Benefits to Defrauded Veterans Act. Additionally, through his work on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he has supported several bills including the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act,  GHAPS Act, and the Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse (SAVE LIVES) Act.

He has written about his efforts to help veterans and their families in The Birmingham News.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.

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