*** New GI Bill® Changes - Surviving Spouse Benefits Now Available!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New GI Bill® benefits for surviving spouses of Service members

The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Choice Act”) was recently signed into law and includes provisions affecting GI Bill® benefits and the Fry Scholarship.  

The Fry Scholarship was created to honor Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas. 

Sergeant Fry had one week remaining of his tour in Iraq in 2006, when despite having already sustained an injury to his hand, he volunteered to continue working for seven more hours disarming explosive devices. 

He made the ultimate sacrifice on March 8, 2006, in Anbar province, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated.  He left behind a widow and three children. 

Section 701 of the Choice Act expands the Fry Scholarship to include the surviving spouses of Service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.  Prior to this law, only children of those who died in the line of duty were eligible for this benefit. 

The law states eligible spouses are entitled to receive:

  • 36 months of full benefits, equal to 100% level of the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, this includes tuition and fee payment, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies.
  • Training must start on or after January 1, 2015. 
  • Training prior to January 1, 2015, is not eligible to receive benefits under Section 701.  
  • A spouse has 15 years from the date of the Service Member’s death to utilize benefits.  If a spouse remarries, benefits end the date of the remarriage.