The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, often referred to as the GI Bill of Rights, provides some assistance for military personnel who have completed their obligations to the military. Education, unemployment money, housing, and business assistance benefits are some of the most attractive provisions of this law.
The GI Bill of Rights provides educational money for service men and women who wish to attend college or vocational school once their military service has ended. Today’s college-bound veteran can receive enough money to cover about 70% of the expenses incurred in a standard college degree program lasting four years.
One clause of the GI Bill of Rights was once called the 52-20 clause. It provided $20 every week for 52 weeks to military personnel who were unemployed or not in school for the first year after their terms of service were completed. The $20 benefit was established in 1944 to help GIs returning from the warfront and has been adjusted accordingly to meet today’s dollar value.
The GI Bill of Rights also enables military men and women to buy homes at reduced interest rates and with no down payment. Millions of veterans seized the opportunity to achieve the American Dream when this law was enacted after World War II, generating a nationwide population shift from inner cities to the suburbs.
Business owners with military history can also take advantage of low interest loans offered through GI Bill of Rights benefits to establish or expand their businesses.
As with all things military, the GI Bill of Rights has generated controversy almost from the very beginning. The controversy has led to addendums to the original bill plus some similar bills that have evolved as other military conflicts have occurred since World War II.
Details, dollar amounts, and time periods in which to claim benefits have changed, too, since the original GI Bill of Rights was written. Former military personnel are urged to contact the benefits administration office of the branch of the military in which they served in order to determine which benefits are available today.