Today, we’ll explain the key differences between the Forever GI Bill vs Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- The biggest difference is that the Forever GI Bill does not expire (ever); however, the Post 9/11 GI Bill has a use or lose time limit of 15 years from a veteran’s last day of active duty military service.
- It’s important to note that the Forever GI Bill builds upon and enhances the benefits provided by the original Post-9/11 GI Bill, making it more beneficial and more flexible for eligible individuals to pursue higher education and training opportunities.
13 Major Benefits of The Forever GI Bill
The Forever GI Bill brought significant improvements to the educational benefits available to veterans and their eligible dependents, making it easier for them to pursue higher education and training opportunities.
Here’s a list of 13 big improvements in the Forever GI Bill:
- Removal of the Time Limit: One of the most significant changes was the elimination of the 15-year “use it or lose it” time limit under the previous Post-9/11 GI Bill rules. Veterans who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, can now use their GI Bill benefits indefinitely.
- Increased Benefits for Certain Lengths of Service: The Forever GI Bill increased the benefit levels for certain lengths of service. For example, it eliminated the 40% benefit level and expanded the service requirement for 60% benefits to include more veterans.
- Purple Heart Recipients: Purple Heart recipients who earned their award on or after September 11, 2001, are now eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100% benefit level, regardless of their length of service. Previously, three years of service were required for full benefits.
- Veteran Priority Enrollment: The bill required schools to offer priority enrollment to veterans and service members, allowing them to get into the classes they need to complete their degrees first.
- GI Bill Benefit Transfer Changes: The Forever GI Bill allowed more flexibility for veterans who transferred their entitlement to a dependent, allowing them to designate a new dependent if the original one dies before using the benefit.
- VET TEC Program for Technology Courses: The bill established a pilot program, called the VET TEC program, to provide veterans with training in high-demand technical fields.
- Work-Study Program Expansion: The Forever GI Bill made the VA’s work-study programs a permanent offering, allowing students using approved VA education benefit programs to work for various eligible organizations.
- Monthly Housing Allowance Calculation: The ZIP code where GI Bill recipients attend most of their classes now determines the students’ monthly housing allowance, instead of the school’s primary physical location.
- Expansion of Yellow Ribbon Program to Active-Duty Service Members: Starting from August 1, 2022, active-duty military members using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can access Yellow Ribbon Program benefits.
- GI Bill Benefit Restoration: The bill allows for the restoration of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for students affected by school closures or disapproval of courses of study.
- More Benefits Available for STEM Programs: GI Bill recipients enrolled in STEM programs can receive additional benefits to complete their degrees.
- Benefits for National Guardsmen and Reservists: Expanded eligibility for the GI Bill for certain Reserve service members called to active duty during a federally declared disaster or emergency.
- Expanded Fry Scholarship Benefits: Surviving dependents of fallen service members receiving GI Bill payments through the Fry Scholarship can now access the Yellow Ribbon Program.
The Forever GI Bill vs Post 9/11: 8 Key Differences Explained!
The Forever GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill are related but distinct programs that provide educational assistance benefits to eligible veterans, service members, and their dependents.
Here are the key differences between the two:
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill is officially known as the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.
- The Forever GI Bill is officially known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill was enacted in 2008 and provided benefits to eligible individuals who served on or after September 11, 2001.
- The Forever GI Bill was enacted in 2017 and introduced changes and enhancements to the existing Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Time Limit for Use:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill: Before the Forever GI Bill, there was a 15-year “use it or lose it” time limit for eligible individuals to use their benefits, starting from their last day of active duty service.
- Forever GI Bill: The Forever GI Bill eliminated the 15-year time limit for those who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, allowing them to use their GI Bill benefits indefinitely.
Purple Heart Recipients:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill: Before the Forever GI Bill, Purple Heart recipients were required to have at least three years of active-duty service to be eligible for full benefits.
- Forever GI Bill: The Forever GI Bill grants Purple Heart recipients who earned their award on or after September 11, 2001, eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100% benefit level, regardless of their length of service.
- Forever GI Bill: The Forever GI Bill introduced various enhancements and expansions to the existing Post-9/11 GI Bill, such as increased benefit levels for certain lengths of service, veteran priority enrollment, expanded VET TEC program for technology courses, expanded Yellow Ribbon Program coverage, increased benefits for STEM programs, and more.
GI Bill Benefit Transfer Changes:
- Forever GI Bill: The Forever GI Bill allowed more flexibility for veterans who transferred their entitlement to a dependent, allowing them to designate a new dependent if the original one dies before using the benefit.
Monthly Housing Allowance Calculation:
- Forever GI Bill: The Forever GI Bill changed how the monthly housing allowance is calculated, using the ZIP code where the student attends most of their classes instead of the school’s primary physical location.
GI Bill Benefit Restoration:
- Forever GI Bill: The Forever GI Bill allows for the restoration of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for students affected by school closures or disapproval of courses of study.
About the Author
Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).
Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start.
As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.
He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).