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New Law Cuts Off Unemployment Benefits for Vets Attending School Under the GI Bill

Vets who attend college under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and receive simultaneous unemployment benefits are in for a rude awakening, courtesy of a new and controversial law. Vets can no longer receive both educational funding and unemployment payouts at the same time under the new terms of the National Defense Authorization Act.

As it stands, some vets receive an educational living stipend under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This stipends ranges from as much as $4,000 a month for students in some areas of California to as little as $1,100 a month for certain students in Ohio and is based on the vet’s military grade and region of residence. Students receiving the stipend also receive tuition payments and a $1,000-per year stipend for books.

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A loophole in the original legislation for the bill allowed some vets to receive 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, but lawmakers quietly closed that loophole in December 2015. Although it is uncertain how and when the change will go into effect, there are some barriers to implementing it. The government is having trouble identifying which vets are receiving both types of assistance, due largely to the fact that unemployment compensation is handled on the state level, while military benefits are handled on the federal level.

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The bill’s language makes an exception for military personnel who were involuntarily discharged from the military due to injuries. These vets can continue to collect benefits from both systems.

Although officials say that only a small portion of transitioning military personnel who currently receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill will be affected, detractors say that this change is a slap in the face to veterans. With these cuts to available benefits, more and more vets will be looking for work. Sign this petition to tell the U.S. Department of Labor that it needs more effective ways to help veterans find work.

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