Supreme Court gives huge victory to veterans

Supreme Court gives huge victory to veterans

In a major victory for veterans, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a veteran fighting for his full education benefits after a nine-year struggle. The court ruled that veterans who qualify for both Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI bills through separate periods of service may use either one, in any order, for up to four years.

The American Legion, with the support of their litigation partner, the national law firm Bergmann & Moore (B&M), played a key role in the successful outcome of the case, Rudisill v. McDonough, which was ruled on April 16.

“This is a good decision for veterans and their families who were previously required by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to relinquish education benefits under one program in order to utilize another,” said B&M managing partner Glenn Bergmann. “Now a veteran can use more than one VA education benefit, up to a total of 48 months.  We are honored to work closely with The American Legion to lend our support to James Rudisill as well as other veterans in similar circumstances.”

The impact of the Supreme Court ruling could be enormous. Estimates show that up to 1.7 million veterans could qualify for additional education benefits, thanks to the ruling.

In its 7-2 opinion, the Supreme Court agreed with Rudisill, who had two periods of honorable active military service. Starting in March 2015, he sought to use both of his earned VA education benefits, the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill, for a total of 48 months, as allowed by VA regulation. 

The Legion became involved during spring 2023, asking attorneys at B&M to find a way to support Rudisill’s fight to obtain all 48 months for both of his VA benefits.  Collaborating closely with the Legion over several months, B&M submitted an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in August 2023.

The American Legion argued persuasively that VA should follow existing law and regulation favoring veterans so Rudisill could use up to 48 months of VA education benefits.