DearColleague.us

Letter

Ken Calvert

From the office of:

Ken Calvert

From: The Honorable Ken Calvert
Sent By: rocky.checca@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/31/2016

Dear Colleague,

Did you know that the Post 9/11 GI Bill, as currently written, jeopardizes some units in the reserve component the ability to maintain readiness and causes undue financial stress?  38 CFR 21.9625(k) provides that an individual who is released from active duty status may begin receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) on the first day of the month following the date the individual is discharged.  In addition, an individual who is released from active duty status may begin receiving the tuition and fees benefit on the first day of the enrollment period following the date the individual is discharged and begin receiving the books and supplies stipend on the first day of the month following the date the individual is discharged.

However, there are cases in which a Guard or reservist’s required monthly active duty is listed in 38 USC 3301(1)(B) and would disqualify those individuals for the MHA benefit.  Many reservists are required to routinely perform their jobs in a Title 10 status due to their specific job requirements and functions.  These commonly include aircrew, intelligence personnel, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operators.  While not in a drill status, or if in a drill status under Title 32, an individual is entitled to their MHA and book allowance.  When in a drill status under Title 10, the individual is entitled to the housing allowance but only for the first portion of the month up to when they entered active duty under Title 10.  Therefore, if an individual goes on active duty on the first day of the month for three days, the individual does not receive any housing, or book allowance payments, for the rest of that entire month.  Just one day of Title 10 service can result in forfeiture of MHA and book allowance for all or most of the month.

In order to maintain a Combat Mission Readiness (CMR) state and proficiency at their job some have to commit to a minimum of four training days a month in a Title 10 status.  Many Guard and Reservists using their GI Bill benefits will be reluctant to volunteer for three to four day missions to ferry troops, equipment, and supplies into an Area of Responsibility (AOR) knowing they will lose all or a portion of that month’s MHA.  Many reservists are full-time students and rely on their MHA to pay rent, but as a result of the current rules they are denied their full MHA causing many members to incur thousands of dollars of debt.  This is compounded by the fact that members of the Guard are used more frequently due to the increased tempo of operations around the world.

The bill essentially prorates the MHA for the portion of the month the service member is not on active duty.  This legislation amends Title 38, United States Code, to clarify the eligibility for monthly stipends paid under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program for certain members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.  This will ease restrictions on volunteers; increase the number of volunteers, and increase the frequency of volunteerism while limiting the potential for personnel financial issues to arise.  Most importantly, this bill seeks to enhance reserve components’ military readiness during high tempo operations.  The Reserve component is effective because of volunteerism and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, as written, has a loophole that places unintentional restrictions on members wishing to meet their contractual agreement to maintain readiness.

If you would like to become an original co-sponsor, or if you have questions please email Rocky Checca atrocky.checca@mail.house.gov or call 51986.  Deadline is noon on April 14th.

Sincerely,
KEN CALVERT
Member of Congress