Last Thursday the Federal Circuit granted en banc review and vacated a prior panel decision in Rudisill v. McDonough, a veterans case. According to last week’s order, the en banc court will consider the question of a veteran’s statutory entitlement to education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and in particular what the correct entitlement period is when considering both bills and multiple qualifying periods of service. Here are the details.
In the original panel decision, the Federal Circuit addressed how the law treats “a veteran who qualifies for the Montgomery GI Bill under one period of service and the Post-9/11 GI Bill under an entirely separate qualifying period or periods of service.” The panel ultimately affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims, which had reversed a decision of the Board of Veterans Appeals. The panel explained that “each period of service earns education benefits, subject to [a statutory] cap of 48 aggregate months of benefits.”
In last Friday’s order, however, the Federal Circuit requested that parties file new briefs addressing the following issues:
- “For a veteran who qualifies for the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill under a separate period of qualifying service, what is the veteran’s statutory entitlement to education benefits?”
- “What is the relation between the 48-month entitlement in 38 U.S.C. § 3695(a), and the 36-month entitlement in § 3327(d)(2), as applied to veterans such as Mr. Rudisill with two or more periods of qualifying military service?”
The court invited amicus briefs and indicated that it will hold an en banc oral argument.
We will watch this case and report on developments.