May 24, 2013

Manchin to Offer Legislation in Honor of Memorial Day

Expanded benefits and services offered in three-part Memorial Day legislation package

Washington, D.C. –In honor of Memorial Day, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will introduce legislation to expand benefits and services to our veterans and active service members.  This legislation specifically aims to expand burial rights for certain members of the Reserves and National Guard, remove GI Bill transferability barriers for those with service-related injuries, and provide our military with the tools to succeed to use their GI Bill benefit.

“Showing our appreciation to our veterans and soldiers is something we should do each and every day, but we, as a nation, must come together on Memorial Day to say thank you.” said Senator Manchin. “The freedoms we enjoy are ours because of the courage of those whose lives have been lost defending this great nation and because of those who are serving today. And, I am proud to be able to introduce legislation that addresses critical issues brought to me by West Virginia native and Medal of Honor recipient, Woody Williams, who is a true hero and who tirelessly advocates for our veterans.

“Furthermore, I remain committed to making sure that this country keeps its promises to our veterans and provides our service members with the benefits and services they have earned and deserve. We must never forget their patriotism and their sacrifices. It is a duty, and more importantly, a privilege to represent those who have fought for us.”

Senator Manchin’s legislation package includes:

• Honorably Served, Military Burial Deserved Bill:  Under current law, certain members of the Reserve and National Guard, who served honorably, are not considered veterans and are therefore prevented from being buried in state veterans cemeteries.  This bill would amend current law to allow all members of the Reserves and National Guard who have taken the oath and served honorably to be granted this benefit. West Virginia hero and Medal of Honor Recipient Woody Williams brought this important issue to Senator Manchin’s attention.

• Awareness of GI Bill Benefits:  When a service member leaves the military after serving honorably, they are eligible for the Post 9-11 GI Bill, valued at more than $250,000.  Senator Manchin’s bill requires the Department of Defense to provide information on the $250,000 benefit to troops leaving service.  Every service member should know about this important benefit, and most importantly, be ready to use it if they continue their education.  This bill will give our brave service members the tools that they need to succeed.   

• Expanded GI Bill Transferability: Under the current Post 9-11 GI Bill, veterans can transfer unused education benefits to their spouse or children after a service commitment ranging from 6-10 years. However, many service members become ineligible for this benefit if they suffer a combat injury that prohibits them from serving their commitment. This bill would waive certain service requirements for those who are no longer able to serve the required time to become eligible for GI Bill Transferability.