With a new year, and new elections, comes new laws and legislation. I wondered how the New Year would play out for veterans receiving benefits from the government, so I found an article from military.com that spells out what changes we will see for Veterans' benefits. Having veterans in my family, I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for any changes that come through the pipeline. I think it's important to know what changes are being made on the 'Hill' that will affect our veterans. You may not be former military personnel yourself, but it touches our friends and family members, in one way or another. The article breaks down new changes to Veterans' benefits on a state level, as well as Federal, but I wanted to focus more on the Federal, since it will affect veterans on a broader spectrum.
A provision of the Forever GI Bill that provides more benefits for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Programs will become effective Aug. 1, 2019.
The VA will provide up to nine additional months of Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage to certain eligible individuals who are enrolled in a STEM program and use up all their GI Bill benefits.
This applies only to veterans who already have completed at least 60 semester or 90 quarter hours and are in a STEM program that requires more than the standard 128 semester or 192 quarter hours for a degree.
The VA can pay up to nine additional months of GI Bill benefits or $30,000, whichever is less. Those using the Yellow Ribbon program and dependents using transferred benefits are not eligible.
Disabled veterans with a 100-percent disability rating are now eligible for Space-A travel.
New UCMJ Article
Article 128b will be added to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, addressing domestic violence. It includes assault, intimidation, violation of a protective order, and damaging property or injuring animals in a domestic-assault situation.
More UCMJ changes can be found here.
High-Deployment Allowance for Reservists
A new law adds reservists mobilized under Section 1104(b) to those eligible for the high-deployment allowance of up to $1,000 per month.
New Tricare Retiree Dental Program
The big news in Tricare coverage is the replacement of the Tricare Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) with the FEDVIP program. Also, family members of active-duty personnel are now eligible for vision insurance through FEDVIP.
One change I'm happy to see is the VA adding 9 additional months to Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage. I think it will certainly gives veterans more wiggle room when they use up all their GI Bill benefits.
What changes do you find more impactful? There's always more we can do for our veterans, but are there changes that need to be implemented further?