Nearly Two Million of Veterans Could Benefit from Appellate Court Ruling on Educational Benefits

Nearly two million military veterans could be eligible for an additional year of education benefits worth potentially billions of dollars depending on the outcome of a case that the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear later this year.

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Changes in TA affect education

Nearly two million military veterans could be eligible for an additional year of education benefits worth potentially billions of dollars depending on the outcome of a case that the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear later this year.

Brought by U.S. Army veteran James R. Rudisill against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 2016, the case seeks to resolve how many months of education benefits a veteran is entitled to under two different GI bills.

Rudisill, who lives near Richmond, Virginia, did two stints in the Army that included two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and then became an FBI counter-terrorism agent, working on cases against ISIS supporters and white supremacists. He is represented pro bono by Army veteran Timothy L. McHugh of Troutman Pepper and David J. DePippo of Dominion Resource Services Inc., Richmond, VA.

Background:

  • Rudisill served three periods of active military service between 2000 and 2011 and applied for education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill receiving 25 months and 14 days of the 36 months of benefits available under that program.
  • After his final stint in the Army, Rudisill applied for education benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which also provides 36 months of benefits and has a 48-month combined limit of benefits for veterans who have had multiple terms of service and use benefits under multiple programs.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs claimed Rudisill was only entitled to the remaining 10 months and 16 days of the time allotted by the Montgomery bill.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims determined that Rudisill isn’t limited to the 36 months given by the Montgomery bill because he also qualifies for later benefits under the Post 9/11 bill.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judges Pauline Newman, Timothy B. Dyk, and Jimmie V. Reyna heard arguments in the case in December 2020. The panel issued an opinion affirming Rudisill’s U.S. Appeals Court for Veterans Claims decision in July 2021.

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