Thursday, November 11, 2021

New bill would provide GI Bill benefits to descendants of Black World War II veterans

Congressional Democrats are reintroducing legislation that would repay the families of Black American veterans who served in World War II who were unable to take advantage of the original GI Bill’s benefits.

The GI Bill Restoration Act would provide descendants of these veterans a transferable benefit that could be used to obtain housing, attend college and start businesses, according to the announcement Thursday from the bill’s sponsors.

To mark Veterans Day, the bill was unveiled by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., in the House and is expected to be introduced by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., in the Senate. The lawmakers said that GI benefits were limited to Black veterans because most state and local veterans administrations were largely run by white officials.

The bill would extend access to Post-9/11 GI Bill educational assistance benefits to the surviving spouse and direct descendants of these veterans who were alive when the bill took effect. It would also extend access to the VA Loan Guaranty Program, which helps provide home loans to veterans and surviving spouses.

Under the legislation, the Government Accountability Office would be required to establish a panel of independent experts to assess inequities in how benefits are distributed to minority and female service members.

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