Crowley Salutes Expansion of GI Education Benefits to Children of Fallen Service Members

Jun 17, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-the Bronx, Queens) saluted the U.S. House of Representatives for expanding the GI education benefits to the children of fallen servicemembers.  The House passed this critical legislation last night, as part of the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Conference Report.  Once signed into law, this legislation will allow children of members of the armed forces who die while on active duty to access 21st Century GI Bill of Rights education benefits, including tuition and other expenses for a four-year college education.   

"Expanding education benefits to the children of fallen servicemembers is the right thing to do," said Congressman Crowley.  "The loss of an active duty parent can have a devastating effect on a family and this amendment assures that the children of servicemembers who have given the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation will have access to higher education no matter what.  The Democratic-led Congress has made expanding and enhancing veterans and military benefits a top priority, and this is one more critical initiative that pays tribute to our men and women in uniform."

This legislation will allow the extension of 21st Century GI Bill of Rights education benefits (covering tuition and other expenses for a four-year college education) to children of members of the armed forces who die while on active duty.  The 21st Century GI Bill was enacted last year by the Democratic-led Congress as the “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.”  This bill addressed many issues related to the Vietnam GI Bill.  Congressman Crowley has worked with the National Congress of Puerto Rican Veterans Association to expand this education benefit, and ensure the maximum flexibility and transferability for service members to pass this benefit onto their dependent children.

"There is no consolation for the loss of a loved one, but all parents want a better future for their children and this provision will do exactly that.  Thank you to my good friend Richard Soto, National President of the National Congress of Puerto Rican Veterans Association, for his work on this issue.  His life-long commitment to improving the lives of our nation’s veterans is commendable, and I look forward to continuing our work together to improve services for all veterans, servicemembers and their families," said Congressman Crowley. 

The FY09 Supplemental Appropriations bill now goes to the Senate for consideration, and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama once the Senate passes the measure.  Congressman Crowley is a member of the exclusive House Committee on Ways and Means.