Connolly-Katko Introduce EARNED Act
Today, Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and John Katko (R-NY) introduced the Education Assistance to Realign New Eligibilities for Dependents (EARNED) Act, bipartisan legislation that would add an additional category of servicemembers eligible to transfer entitlement to post-9/11 educational assistance.
Currently, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 allows certain servicemembers to transfer all or some of their unused education benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The EARNED Act would expand that eligibility to any active duty or retired member of the Armed Forces who has at least 20 years of active-duty service, including at least 90 days of such service after September 10, 2001.
“There is no greater responsibility in Congress than to make sure that we take care of those who put on the uniform, both during and after active duty service,” said Congressman Connolly. “The EARNED Act builds on the successful 9/11 GI bill, by ensuring these brave servicemembers have the option to pass along their education benefits to their loved ones. It is a clear win-win. We have another tool for retaining talent and ensuring a strong military, and it allows us to uphold our promise to veterans who have served so honorably.”
“Our veterans have made countless sacrifices to protect, defend, and serve this great nation. They answered a call of duty that only the bravest men and women are willing to answer, and we need to do everything we can to help them and their families,” said Congressman Katko. “This legislation adds an additional transferability option under the Post 9/11 GI Bill that would allow servicemembers to transfer all or some of their unused benefits to spouses or dependent children.”
The ability to transfer education benefits has traditionally been used as a retention tool. Servicemembers with six years of service can transfer their education benefits if they commit to four years of additional service. Additionally, servicemembers with ten years of service, who are precluded from committing to four additional years, can transfer if they agree to serve the maximum amount of time allowed by policy or statute. The EARNED Act would recognize that individuals who have served twenty years have made a sufficient contribution and deserve the ability to transfer their education benefits to dependents. This legislation would still incentivize additional service, but would also allow veterans who have served twenty years to provide education opportunities to their children.
Text of the legislation is available here.