Rounds, Manchin Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Give Purple Heart Recipients Full Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today introduced legislation to add Purple Heart recipients to the list of eligible veterans who can access full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also includes a provision to make Purple Heart recipients eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which is an optional program for universities to provide additional funding to veterans if their Post-9/11 GI Bill does not fully cover education costs. The VA is required to match the university’s contribution.
“It is our job to make sure veterans who have selflessly served our country are equipped with the education benefits necessary to prosper when transitioning to civilian life,” said Rounds. “Purple Heart recipients have made incredible sacrifices, and deserve to have full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, regardless of the amount of time they served on active duty. I’m pleased to introduce this legislation today, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance it in the Senate.”
“True patriotism is what drives men and women every day to serve in our military, even though that service comes with the risk of bodily harm,” said Manchin. “The fact that a technicality prevents some Purple Heart recipients from receiving full education benefits is a tragedy that is long overdue to be fixed. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is an important step in fulfilling our obligation to those who have borne the battle.”
Currently, only veterans who served on active duty for 36 months or were medically discharged after at least 30 continuous days on active duty are eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. A child or spouse of a veteran who died in the line of duty on active duty are also eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
Currently, a service member may be injured in the line of duty while serving in a combat capacity for less than 36 months of active duty, earn a Purple Heart and not receive full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. This legislation would make sure they receive full Post-9/11 Bill GI benefits.
H.R. 1379 was originally introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52), and passed out of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on March 8, 2017.