Tester Fights for Equal G.I. Bill Benefits for Foster Children

Bipartisan bill would bring VA benefits in line with Department of Defense standards

(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure veterans’ foster children and legal wards can get the same quality education biological children are entitled to.

Tester’s G.I. Education Benefits Fairness Act extends Post-9/11 G.I. Bill education benefits to veterans’ foster children and legal wards. Currently, a foster child and legal ward isn’t legally included as an “eligible child” for a veteran to transfer education benefits.

“VA benefits must reflect the reality of many American military and veteran families and include foster kids and all manner of family units,” said Tester. “My bill would make sure all veteran families can access the education benefits their mother or father earned.”

Under current law, the Department of Defense includes foster children and legal wards in its definition of an “eligible child” to receive unused education benefits. The VA does not.

Tester’s G.I. Education Benefits Fairness Act would change current law by expanding the definition of “eligible child,” allowing foster children and legal wards to receive the education promised to them. In addition, Tester’s bill would retroactively reimburse foster children and wards who were previously approved for G.I. Bill education benefits only to have them revoked.

Tester’s bill is endorsed by the Student Veterans of America (SVA), National Military Family Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).