The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the compliance deadline for a provision of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act) from July 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.
This means that GI Bill recipients in non-compliant states will not lose their GI Bill benefits for the upcoming summer and fall semesters. It also gives state governments the necessary time to enact legislation to comply with the Federal law.
VA Secretary Bob McDonald issued a waiver of the provision requiring VA to refuse to pay GI Bill benefits for any state that does not grant certain veterans and their dependents in-state tuition at public universities.
The law applies to veterans or their dependents who are using transferred benefits, and who enroll within three years of the veteran's release from active duty. The Choice Act says that if public schools don't offer in-state tuition to all eligible GI Bill recipients by July 1, then all GI Bill payments to that school will be stopped.
According to the VA website, all states and territories intend to comply with the Federal law, but with less than 45 days until the original July 1 deadline, more than half of all states and territories still have not enacted the necessary legislation.
Based on this fact, the VA has extended the time limit required for states to pass necessary legislation in order to avoid terminating GI Bill benefits for hundreds of thousands of veterans and their dependents.
“Our military members and their families make sacrifices that require them to pack up and move with little notice,” said Bob McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “They shouldn't be penalized after they leave military service by burdensome residency requirements. This waiver will allow students to continue receiving the GI Bill benefits they've earned as states work to comply with this important law.”