Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 22, 2017 - Veterans in St. John's County, Florida have reason to celebrate due to recent legislation that extends their benefits from the GI bill. The 20,000 veterans who reside in the county will no longer have to use their education benefits within the 15 years following their exit from military service.
“The new law, which is long overdue, will serve to improve the quality of life for many veterans and their families,” says Tampa, Florida veterans lawyer, David W. Magann.
This benefit will only apply to veterans who enlist after January 1, 2018, the date on which the law becomes effective. The law also reinstates benefits for veterans whose schools were closed. Thousands of veterans lost their education benefits when ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges suddenly shut down.
After the new law takes effect, veterans will have the right to recover lost benefits for the semester during which their school closed, and receive a maximum of four months’ worth of extra living stipends. Additionally, the bill extends the eligibility of spouses and children of veterans who lost their lives while serving in the military, for educational scholarships. It modifies the Yellow Ribbon program to include recipients of the Fry Scholarship. Furthermore, every recipient of the Purple Heart who was honorably discharged, will qualify for the extended education program.
The bill is part of a major effort to fill gaps in coverage in the post-9/11 GI Bill in the midst of a job market that is experiencing rapid changes. The bill grants veterans the flexibility to attend college later in life, and veterans will receive additional funds if they finish coursework in the areas of science, technology and engineering.
Members of the National Guard and Reserve who attend a private university could receive an additional $2,300 annually in tuition as well as a larger housing allowance. Kristofer Goldsmith, age 30, assistant director for policy at Vietnam Veterans of America, says the bill will benefit several veterans who, like himself, are not ready to attend college right after military service.
In 2005, Goldsmith served in the U.S. Army as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and attained the rank of sergeant. However, upon his return home, he suffered from constant nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD. Following a suicide attempt, he was forced to leave the military with a general discharge, and was ineligible to receive GI benefits. Currently, he is an advocate for veterans afflicted with PTSD, and has filed an appeal of his discharge. He is bound for Columbia University in the fall.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618