Magazine article VFW Magazine

Fight for State Vet Benefits

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Fight for State Vet Benefits

Article excerpt

Two key issues of the day for veterans are employment and education. And increasingly, these issues are being fought out in the states.

Think of the things a recently discharged veteran needs most when he or she re-enters the civilian world. Most likely, they are a means of making a livelihood and a way to further an education to improve job prospects.

Usually, what comes to mind is the federal GI Bill, veterans preference in government jobs and/or assistance provided by the Veterans Employment & Training Service. But these laws and agencies are only part of the package to help veterans in need.

States provide a host of benefits for veterans that are seldom publicized. Every state has an agency devoted to veterans. VFW magazine has published pertinent information about them on several occasions. Agencies can be easily found in the state government pages of telephone books.

Most often, the state works in concert with the federal Department of Labor and sometimes with private industry efforts. (see this month's Issues Up Front column for related information.) The employment picture for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq has been improving. Still, Labor Day reminds us each year of the importance of assisting veterans in seeking and gaining meaningful employment.

Education benefits are a more complex matter because government provides them at national and state levels, as do a select few universities (two of which are profiled this month). VFW's National Legislative Service has long spearheaded the effort on Capitol Hill to enhance the Montgomery GI Bill.

The latest legislative version of a GI Bill for the 21 st century is called the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act 0/2007 (S.22). It would cover the full cost of tuition, books and room and board, and provide a monthly stipend of $ 1,000 for living expenses. Moreover, it would eliminate the $1,200 enrollment fee, extend the "use or lose" window to 15 years and include National Guardsmen and reservists activated for 24 months. …

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