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house Bill H.R. 4162

Should Military Enlistees Have Six Months Instead of Two Weeks to Decide if They Want to Keep Montgomery GI Bill Benefits?

Argument in favor

New enlistees should have more than two weeks to decide if keeping 1984 Montgomery GI Bill benefits is right for them. In the future, given that nearly all veterans use Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits over MGIB benefits anyway, enlistees should be made ineligible for MGIB benefits in favor of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits alone. Finally, all public colleges and universities should offer all veterans in-state (or lower) tuition in recognition of their service.

RjGoodman's Opinion
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11/13/2019
I will do you one better. Why is it that our veterans must pay $1,200 to access benefits they have earned? Damn it, we say to these people “Thank you for your service.” Why don’t we treat them like we mean it?
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David's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Two weeks to make a decision that effects you for life is too short. I speak from personal experience.
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Bradford's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Yes, I agree with @Henry - we as a nation should honor our veterans and all those who served. I believe that 6 months rather than 2 weeks would be a more forward looking timeframe, considering the average age of new enlistees, 2 weeks is not a lot of time to make a decision that could potentially carry a lifetime result. The estimated cost of $34 million over four years isn’t even a budget blip and could easily be moved from an already bloated defense budget. I additionally believe that public institutions from the veteran’s home state or legal state of residence should provide free tuition to veterans, rather than offering in-state tuition rates. Other than this, I would further support reinstating the draft - this action, I believe, would make our citizens more alert to and wary of conflicts that our leaders may engage in.
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Argument opposed

Since veterans can use both MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits in some cases, it’s not fair to take that option away from future enlistees. Additionally, this bill’s in-state tuition requirement isn’t necessary, as schools already have to charge veterans in-state tuition and fee amounts in order to remain approved for the GI Bill program (so, the VA already effectively requires in-state tuition for any schools with veteran students).

Gregg 's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Tow weeks is not enough time but six months is to long. What may happen is they wait and still make a last minute uninformed decision.
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John's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Isn’t this part of your decision making process prior to enlisting?
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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11/13/2019
Stop these dem criminals from ruining this nation. Impeach the next elected dem! No constitution or facts required, thanks to your precedent... Impeach! I'm getting an early start, really early considering you'll very much lose 2020...
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What is House Bill H.R. 4162?

This bill — the GI Bill Planning Act of 2019 — would give military enlistees six months to decide whether to pay a mandatory $1,200 to keep their 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits. Currently, there are only two weeks for new enlistees to make this decision.

Additionally, it would require public colleges and universities to charge no more than in-state tuition for nearly all students using veterans’ education benefits.

Finally, this bill would end new enlistee enrollments in the MGIB by October 2029, in favor of the newer Post 9/11 GI Bill. Therefore, anyone who joins the military after September 30, 2029 would be ineligible for MGIB benefits (they would have Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits).

Impact

Military enlistees; military enlistees’ decision to keep 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits; MGIB; public colleges and universities; and new enlistee enrollments into the MGIB.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4162

The CBO estimates that this bill would cost $34 million over the 2020-2024 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced this bill to give military enlistees more time to decide whether they want to pay to keep their 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits

"Military basic training is a grueling ordeal meant to mold our nation’s finest.  But it doesn’t make sense for these fatigued recruits to immediately be asked to make a consequential, expensive decision about using their future education benefits.  By delaying this decision 6 months, my new legislation will give enlistees the ability to make an informed choice and plan for the future." 

In the press release for this bill, Rep. Bergman’s office contends that the $1,200 fee that veterans need to pay to maintain MGIB eligibility is a “costly burden” for enlistees, especially since they often earn less than $20,000 annually. In light of this, his office argues that this bill’s six month buffer would give enlistees time to develop a clearer understanding of MGIB benefits versus Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, and to make an informed decision about whether to pay the $1,200.

Original cosponsor Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) adds

“Every year, thousands of new military recruits enroll in the Montgomery GI Bill program, yet many will never use this service, instead opting into the more effective Post-9/11 GI Bill. Nevertheless, these new recruits often keep the MGIB plan and are saddled with the $1,200, simply because they didn’t have enough time to evaluate both programs. We should be doing everything we can to support the brave men and women who volunteer to wear our nation’s uniform. Our bill will ensure that they have the time and ability to pick the right education plan for their future, without unnecessarily spending their hard-earned dollars.”

Student Veterans of America supports this bill. Its Chief of Staff, Will Hubbard, says: 

“The Montgomery GI Bill is a true tax on troops for the vast majority of students using the GI Bill. Nearly all student veterans opt to use the more generous Post-9/11 GI Bill, yet they still pay towards the Montgomery GI Bill in boot camp—what’s worse is that hardly anyone ever receives a refund of these payments. This bill is an important step forward in reducing the number of service members paying hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily while allowing those still using the benefit to finish their education."

This legislation passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee by voice vote with the support of 15 bipartisan House cosponsors, including eight Republicans and seven Democrats. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) plans to introduce a Senate companion bill along with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).

This legislation is supported by Student Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and Veterans Education Success.


Of NoteAbout 97% of student veterans choose to use the newer, more effective Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, about 70% of military recruits still decide to keep their 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits, which they’re required to pay $1,200 to keep. If a new enlistee doesn’t opt out of the MGIB benefit, their first 12 paychecks are garnished (at $100 per paycheck) to take the $1,200 automatically and maintain their MGIB eligibility.

In 2015, the congressionally-authorized Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission determined that the Post 9/11 Bill amounts to a monetary benefit that exceeds that of the MGIB by nearly 50%.

While most veterans use either the MGIB or Post 9/11 GI Bill, they can use both under specific conditions. When they choose to use both bills, they can get up to 48 total months of benefits.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / videodet)

AKA

GI Bill Planning Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend the period under which an election must be made for entitlement to educational assistance under the All-Volunteer Educational Assistance Program of Department of Veterans Affairs, to phase out the use of such program, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed November 12th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 408 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedAugust 6th, 2019

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    I will do you one better. Why is it that our veterans must pay $1,200 to access benefits they have earned? Damn it, we say to these people “Thank you for your service.” Why don’t we treat them like we mean it?
    Like (42)
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    Two weeks to make a decision that effects you for life is too short. I speak from personal experience.
    Like (15)
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    Yes, I agree with @Henry - we as a nation should honor our veterans and all those who served. I believe that 6 months rather than 2 weeks would be a more forward looking timeframe, considering the average age of new enlistees, 2 weeks is not a lot of time to make a decision that could potentially carry a lifetime result. The estimated cost of $34 million over four years isn’t even a budget blip and could easily be moved from an already bloated defense budget. I additionally believe that public institutions from the veteran’s home state or legal state of residence should provide free tuition to veterans, rather than offering in-state tuition rates. Other than this, I would further support reinstating the draft - this action, I believe, would make our citizens more alert to and wary of conflicts that our leaders may engage in.
    Like (11)
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    There is no way to describe military service unless you have served. Once served you never go home.
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    I am a veteran who took full advantage of the educational benefits that were offered to all those who served,at that time. The honorable completion of my duties was all that was required to receive those benefits. I had thirty-six months of benefits and a deadline of eight years in which to use them. Today’s vets should have at least what I had. Indeed, in my view, they should have much, much more.
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    House Bill H.R. 4162 Has passed, so this comment is redundant. I support the bill. Many recruits are not aware of the benefits available to them - either out of pure ignorance or a failure in recruiting. All agents, recruiters, representatives, veterans, et al, should make every effort to inform people - young and old - about military benefits, their differences and how to make informed decisions regarding their future education. The Montgomery GI Bill was all that was available when I first enlisted. I opted in. Then, The GI Bill became available and choosing became necessary. Simplifying these choices, as they emerge, will help. Spread the word, inform and educate. It’s the right thing to do.
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    Two weeks is not enough time to make important financial decisions.
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    Makes common sense.
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    Vets Should be able to access their benefits at any point in Life.
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    They need time to process their return to civilian life and with all of the changes the MUST adjust to they should NOT-be rushed to make this decision.
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    The transition from active duty to civilian life can be complicated and traumatic. The extra time would not hurt.
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    Tow weeks is not enough time but six months is to long. What may happen is they wait and still make a last minute uninformed decision.
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    Isn’t this part of your decision making process prior to enlisting?
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    Ever experience a person who is only two weeks fresh out of Iraq! This is NEEDED !
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    Give them time to decide what is right for them. That costs nothing and makes the program more user friendly. $1,200 is a lot of money for a new recruit who may not have much money
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    Stop these dem criminals from ruining this nation. Impeach the next elected dem! No constitution or facts required, thanks to your precedent... Impeach! I'm getting an early start, really early considering you'll very much lose 2020...
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    Why not. They deserve all they can get!
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    I only got a few days, it was bull then and it is now—-let them have at least a couple weeks AFTER boot camp so they can ask someone advice. That should be reasonable. It was set up stupidly from the get go. I don’t disagree with the initial $100 per month input—it helps defray the cost over the years.
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    Anything that benefits our veterans? I'm all for it.
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    It was illegal to begin with. The democrats should have taken advantage of Trumps offer when it was offered. They can screwup an ice cream cone. Besides why should they have to pay or give up anything? Wouldn’t that be a small thing to do on our part to support our veterans?
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