Veteran groups usually work together toward the goal of helping veterans. A new bill, however, has many of these groups squaring off with one another. If passed, this new bill would allow veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill not for school or education, but to start or run their personal businesses.
The Veterans’ Entrepreneurial Transition Business Benefit Act (HR 114) is the first of its kind. The American Legion and the Paralyzed Veterans of America both support the bill. Groups in opposition include both the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which is the nation’s largest combat veteran group, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s economic opportunity panel is currently taking the bill into consideration. It has been in front of the panel since January of 2009. The belief is a resolution will not be reached on this bill unless the issues between these opposing groups can be settled.
The American Legion argues college does not suit every veteran. They believe as long as the money is there, it should be able to be used to allow veterans to run their own businesses. The end result is veterans being able to support themselves and their families with the money they earned while in service. Many veterans face financial issues when they leave the service and this money could be vital for them.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays $1,368 a month up to 36 months for qualifying veterans. Arguments in support of the bill rest on the idea that Congress should stand behind veterans should those veterans decide to take an entrepreneurial path as opposed to an educational one. Groups argue Congress’ ultimate goal should only concern the future of the veteran.
The VA maintains using the GI Bill money this way would force the VA to draw conclusions as to every veteran’s personal business plans. These are concerns best left to the Small Business Administration, according to VA spokespeople.
While this may not have been the original intent of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, there is nothing to say it cannot be modified. If these veterans groups cannot come to some conclusion, however, there will never be any modification.
Learn more about the new legislation proposing a new use for Post-9/11 GI Bill funds.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.