WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Military Family Caucus, recently joined with Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) to introduce the bipartisan GI Education Benefits Fairness Act, which supports military families by extending GI education benefits to wards and foster children.
“We know that when a parent joins the military, it’s not just a job, but a family commitment to our country,” said McMorris Rodgers. “These brave men and women in uniform have protected our nation in hope of a better and brighter future for generations to come. We can all be a part of fulfilling that dream by giving children these important education benefits. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Military Family Caucus, I am extremely proud to introduce legislation that will help military children across the country.”
Under the current law, wards and foster children across the nation were initially approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) for GI benefits and in some cases received benefits, only to have them later revoked by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This legislation amends the definition of an “eligible child” for the purposes of transferring benefits under the Post 9/11 Educational Assistance Program to include the DOD definition of a child – which includes wards and foster children.If enacted, the legislation would correct a “bureaucratic nightmare” that has caused some servicemembers’ children to be billed for thousands of dollars in educational benefits for which they were originally approved.
Groups supporting the legislation include the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), The American Legion, Student Veterans of America, Association of the United States Navy, and the National Military Family Association and the Foster Parent Association of America.