On June 30th, 2008, President Bush signed the new GI Bill into law, marking the end of a year and a half long struggle to ensure today’s veterans get the benefits they have earned.
Being a veteran of the first Gulf War, my benefits were much smaller. To compare, here are the benefits I received:
- $1200 buy in, this amounted to $100/month for the first 12 months of my enlistment in the Navy. (As an E-1 or E-2, this was a fairly large amount of the monthly paycheck).
In 1995-1998 while I was in college, I received the following:
- 10 years to use benefits from time of separation from service.
- 36 months receiving $340-430/month as a check (it raised each year as “Cost of Living” increases, the most significant only 2 months before completing school).
- No Housing Allowance, though rent in Chicago area was apx. $700/month
- No additional amount for books.
- No ability to transfer unused benefits to spouse and siblings. (especially as I used every cent).
The new bill represents a significant change in benefits, I applaud all groups and individuals that made it happen, I’m only saddened that I could not take advantage of this new plan as school left me with lots of debt that took years to repay.