Supreme Court sides with Army veteran in benefits case

 May 8, 2024

In a move that will have widespread impact, the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a decorated military veteran. 

According to the Associated Press, the case was brought by James Rudisill, an FBI agent who previously served in the United States Army.

Roughly 1.7 million veterans could be affected

At issue are two versions of the G.I. Bill, one which applied prior to the September 11 terror attack and another which was passed afterwards. Rudisill's service took place under both versions, and it included tours in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

Under each bill, veterans are entitled to 36 months of benefits with a 48 month cap. While Rudisill maintained that he had accrued 10 months of benefits under the old version along with a year's worth under the new one.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denied Rudisill the additional year, something he says forced him to forgo attending Yale Divinity School and returning to the Army as a chaplain.

In a seven to two decision, America's highest judicial body ruled that the VA had improperly calculated Rudisill's benefits.

The Associated Press noted that Rudisill's lawyers maintain that his lawsuit could ultimately affect roughly 1.7 million veterans.

Veteran says benefits "lead to the opportunity of a lifetime"

The Supreme Court's decision was welcomed in an op-ed piece by The Hill contributor Tommy Marquez, who hailed it as being "a huge win."

Marquez recalled how he "was able to go to attend a local community college" following his own military service, something the commentator said "lead to the opportunity of a lifetime."

"It allowed me to obtain a job in the House of Representatives as a caseworker, which meant that I could help my fellow veterans navigate the extremely confusing intricacies of paperwork and the unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that stand between them and benefits that are rightly theirs," he explained.

Columnist says "horizons" will be expanded for veterans

This was important as Marquez had previously found himself "completely lost in the VA bureaucracy and desperately needed help navigating it."

"The Supreme Court’s ruling on this matter now could affect some 1.7 million service men and women who have built up benefits under both the Montgomery and the 9/11 GI Bills," Marquez noted.

"I can attest that that number is a lot more than just a statistic," he stressed before adding that the ruling will lead to "almost 2 million horizons that could be expanded for veterans."

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