Dear Fellow Veterans and Colleagues,
As you know, the recent passage of the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” enacts several changes to the GI Bill that will positively impact Veterans and their families. Some of the changes became effective the day the law was signed, some next fall, and some in the future. In the months to come, I’ll be updating you on how this new law impacts VA education benefits and what actions Veterans may need to take.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the legislation that immediately went into effect with the President’s signature, and what it means for you.
The 15-year time limitation for using Post-9/11 GI Bill - The 15-year limitation to use benefits is removed for Veterans who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, children who became eligible for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) on or after January 1, 2013, and all Fry Scholarship eligible spouses.
There is no action you need to take; if eligible, the limitation is simply removed for you.
Restoration of Benefits due to School Closure - We are now authorized to restore benefits and provide relief to Veterans affected by school closures or disapprovals.
If you attended courses or programs discontinued from January 1, 2015 to August 16, 2017, and attended an accredited institution of higher learning, and did not transfer any credits to a comparable program, entitlement will not be charged for the entire period of your enrollment. The law also provides separate criteria for partial benefit restoration for school closures after January 1, 2015.
To apply for restoration, we will develop a web page with instructions, information, and a form to complete and return. I will update you when this page is available, and we’ll post an announcement on our main GI Bill page and social media sites.
Independent study programs at career and technical education schools covered by GI Bill - This allows anyone eligible for GI Bill to use their benefits at an accredited independent study program at an area career and technical school, or a postsecondary vocational school providing postsecondary level education. A bit of background on this provision: before the passage of this law, most non-college degree programs weren’t approvable if any portion of it was online. This change allows those programs to be considered for approval even if some or all of the instruction is online/not in a classroom.
There is no action for you to take here, as these programs will go through the normal course of approval by the appropriate State Approving Agency. Any new programs will be added to our GI Bill Comparison Tool.
Reservists who had eligibility under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and lost it due to sunset of the program will have that service credited toward the Post-9/11 GI Bill program - We are in the process of identifying the approximately 2,800 Reservists affected by this and will send them letters with instructions.
I will update you when the letters go out, and what to do if you did not receive a letter but feel you may be eligible for this restoration. We will also post more information on the GI Bill web and Facebook pages.
These changes will greatly benefit our nation’s Veterans by providing expanded access and opportunity to access education benefits. I will continue to update you as we work out the details of this legislation.
As always, thank you for your service.
Curtis L. Coy
Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, DC 20420
VA Core Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)
What helps you get outside of your home to do things in the community?
Our team at the University of Kansas Research & Training Center on Independent Living is doing research to help people with physical disabilities be as involved in their communities as they would like to be. We think that LIVING in the community may be different from PARTICIPATING as an active and equal member of the community.
Our goal is to learn what type of knowledge or skills consumers need to participate in their communities, so that we can create a program to provide them with the resources to get out and about.
For example, do people with disabilities need:
• Information about laws that protect their rights?
• Skills to advocate for their rights?
• Ideas for community resources that can help them participate?
• Other information or skills?
If you are 18 years or older, please use the link below to complete the survey so that we can learn what you need (if you are a person with a physical disability) or what your consumers need (if you provide direct services at a Center for Independent Living). The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete.
In addition to completing the survey yourself, we would appreciate your help reaching out to others. If you are a CIL director or are in a direct service position, please share this page and the survey link below with one or more consumers at your CIL. This will help us gather a variety of opinions on what skills and information people need to participate in their community.
To thank you, we’re offering the chance to enter a drawing for one of ten $100 gift cards for those who provide their contact information on the survey form. Five gift cards will be reserved for CIL staff and directors and five gift cards will be reserved for consumers. Survey responses will be collected until Friday, December 15th.
If you have any questions, you may contact Dot Nary, Asst. Research Professor, or Hayley Burghart, Project Coordinator, at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living, University of Kansas. Thanks for your assistance!
Follow this link to the Survey:
Take the Survey
On this edition of "Resource Central," host Joe Reinecker talks to Elaine Legitt. Legitt is the Target Case Manager at Fredonia. She talks about her past, present, and future working in the field of disabilities.
• Are you at risk of diabetes or have diabetes?
• Would you like to learn how to monitor your symptoms
or track activities to improve your health?
Join us for a 10-session series of small-group diabetes education and prevention classes in Parsons, Kansas.
You will learn to use apps to:
• Monitor your blood sugar and insulin use
• Track your meals and snacks
• Record healthy activities
• Get summaries of your numbers to share with your medical professional
The 10-session series is run by a nurse and AT Specialists who can teach you how to improve your health by using apps on a smart cellphone or tablet.
Join us for a FREE 10-session series of classes!
Starting Nov. 14th at 1:00 P.M.
Easy sign up! Contact the SKIL SE AT ACCESS SITE IN PARSONS for more information and to sign up!
SE AT ACCESS SITE
1714 Main St., Parsons
or call us at 620-421-6551
Sponsored by SKIL and Independent Strides Home Health
We will be celebrating the life and love of our own Gail Spillman on Wednesday at 10:00 am at the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons.
I just wanted to let everyone know how much Gail loved each one of you. She was always full of love and wanted to be able to make a difference in everyone’s life that she could. We have lost that loving spirit. Gail has gone to her heavenly home Sunday (October 29th) morning at about 5:00 am. She was awake yesterday and made sure that her family knew she was ready to go. She had not been in pain for the last two days so she was able to pass peacefully in her sleep.
Thank you all for your kindness and love to my sweet Gail all these years.