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Improving The Lives Of Military Veterans

U.S. military veterans cleared a significant hurdle last week – when two new bills to increase benefits and provide the best higher education options passed the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs with bipartisan support.

The bills — the Veterans’ Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment Act of 2020 (COLA) and the Transparency for Student Veterans Act — were introduced by U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, a Navy veteran who served for two decades and retired at the rank of commander.

Providing More Support for Veterans

If enacted by both houses of Congress, the COLA would increase specific benefits for eligible U.S. veterans based on Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. Those benefits would include compensation, clothing allowance, and dependency and indemnity compensation benefits.

The Transparency for Student Veterans Act would provide a “one-stop-shop” for veterans looking to access academic outcome data, which documents veterans’ graduation and transfer rates. Veterans would also have access to successful job searches of previous graduates.

In other words, veterans would be able to use their GI Bill education benefits to make informed decisions regarding their educational pursuits.

Who is Eligible?

Eligibility for these and other veterans benefits require honorable or general discharge from active military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard. Commissioned officers of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are also eligible.

For current and former members of the Selected Reserve, benefits may include home loans and academic compensation, if time-in-service, and other conditions are met, including honorable or general discharges. Dishonorable or bad conduct discharges could disqualify them. Those in prison or paroled may be eligible based on certain conditions.

We will keep an eye on these bills as they travel through the congressional legislative process.