TAMPA, Fla. — The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of veterans looking to get more benefits for education and vocational training.
If the ruling is upheld, veterans with multiple periods of service would be allowed to receive additional G.I. Bill benefits.
What You Need To Know
- A new ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals will allow veterans with multiple periods of service to receive additional benefits
- Now veterans who qualify for both the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 Bill are eligible to draw from each, which was not allowed previously
- Veterans like Lenny Woods say they would greatly benefit from this new ruling
Veterans in the Bay Area say they've been fighting that battle for several years. This change, they say, would afford them the benefits they rightfully earned.
U.S. Marine veteran Leonard 'Lenny' Woods is still emotional about his last tour in the service in Beruit, Lebanon, in 1983.
"I lost seven of them," Woods said. "We were really there as a peacekeeping force and to train civilians how to take care of their own, and the barracks got blown up."
Woods' next mission was to recover the bodies of his comrades.
"It was hard — really hard," he added.
Even harder was life after the service, he said.
"I was 54 when I got my degree, which is entirely too late," Woods said.
It was a struggle for him to take advantage of his G.I. Bill for education, he said.
"They weren't going to provide me with enough financing until I had certainty about disability," he said.
Circumstances are different now.
"Now veterans can come right out of the military and get that education," Woods said.
The court ruling found that veterans who qualify for both the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 Bill are eligible to draw from each. Previously, it was considered "double-dipping" by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
However, Woods said veterans need all the help they can get. Like many others, he said he wouldn't have been able to advance his education without the G.I. Bill.
"I dont think it's fair for any veteran to have to step out of any military branch of service and not have something to go for," Woods said,
The court ruling will now make it easier for veterans to learn a new trade and land jobs.
"It's an accomplishment that I felt that I needed to do, and I'm glad I did it," Woods said about getting his degree.
No matter how late the start at getting that education, Woods said it's the best step to adjusting to civilian life and becoming a contributing member of society.