Since the foundation of this country, the United States has always looked for ways to compensate its veterans for their service. In a previous blog, we discussed the history of the VA, and how it is a relatively new organization. With every major conflict, the US expands the benefits it offers veterans. World War Two mobilized nearly 16 million young Americans, and the US needed a way to reward them for their service, as well as stimulate the post-war economy. The result was the GI Bill.
The GI Bill can trace its genesis to the end of WWI. Veterans flooded back into the US with no support network, and struggled to find work, and make ends meet. In 1924, Congress passed the Bonus Act, which would pay veterans a stipend based on the number of days they served. However, this would not be paid to them until 1945. While this would help them in their later years, it did little for them in the short-term, and especially during the financial crisis of the late 1920s and into the 1930s.
In 1932, destitute veterans traveled to Washington DC in an event known as the Bonus March. Once they marched on the capitol, they demanded their bonus early as a way to relieve the financial pressures they were experiencing at the height of the Great Depression. But President Herbert Hoover let loose police and even the army, and forced the veterans out of the capitol, denying them their bonus.
Veterans Benefits In WWII
President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to avoid a similar fiasco during WWII. Nearly as soon as the conflict started, FDR and other politicians began planning for a post-war recovery plan for veterans and their families. The bill, and who it would apply to was contested in both the House and the Senate, but eventually, it was decided that the bill’s benefits would be extended to all WWII veterans, both male and female. In June of 1944, FDR was able to get the bill through Congress and signed it into law.
GI Bill Benefits
- The GI Bill was revolutionary for its time because it was more than simply a monetary compensation. It was essentially an investment piece in the health and wellness of veterans and the nation. In particular, the GI Bill offered qualifying veterans benefits like:
- A college tuition waiver and a cost of living stipend.
- A $20 weekly unemployment benefit for up to a year after the veteran was discharged while they looked for work.
- Guaranteed loans for veterans who borrowed money to purchase homes, farms, or start businesses.
Medical care was covered through the GI Bill, and the VA began taking over all veteran-related health programs.
The GI Bill continues to support benefits. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is just the latest iteration of the bill.
If you have a WWII veteran in your family or a veteran in need of long-term health care and supervision, you may be able to collect the VA Aid and Attendance pension. Designed to help veterans and their eligible spouses, the Aid and Attendance pension can reduce the cost of care, and ease the burdens that family members may be feeling. Contact Patriot Angels today if you believe you or a loved one is eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance pension.