Fixing a tragic flaw
February 17, 2017
By U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador
This week I was honored and humbled to introduce
the Shauna Hill Post 9/11 Education Benefits
Transferability Act (H.R. 1112). This
legislation will correct an oversight in current
law regarding benefits under the GI Bill on
behalf of one of Idaho’s veterans.
I first met Captain Edward Hill and his wife,
Heidi, in February 2013, when Senator Jim Risch,
R-Idaho, and I presented the Hill family a
Congressional Bronze Medal posthumously earned
by their daughter Shauna for public service,
personal development and physical fitness.
Shauna, a 16-year-old junior at Eagle High
School, was working on her silver medal when she
died as a result of injuries suffered in a
December 10, 2012, two-car crash at Idaho 16 and
Floating Feather Road near Star, Idaho.
Shauna was a competitive figure skater and ice
dancer. She played the violin in the Eagle High
School Orchestra, including a performance at New
York’s Carnegie Hall. The accident occurred when
she was on her way home from orchestra practice.
When her father, Captain Hill, retired from the
Navy after 28 years of service, he assigned his
GI Bill education benefits to Shauna in hopes
that they would help put her through college.
Shauna aspired to attend Stanford University and
become a doctor.
After her death, Hill learned he could not
transfer his benefits to his younger daughter.
Captain Hill sought my help in working with the
Navy in hopes of obtaining a waiver to reassign
the education benefit to his surviving daughter.
Unfortunately, current law requires any transfer
of benefits to happen before retirement.
Unable to negotiate an administrative fix, my
team and I pursued a legislative remedy to
ensure that in the future no veteran would find
themselves in a similarly tragic situation.
Shauna’s Bill will allow reassignment of
veterans’ education benefits in cases where the
designated beneficiary passes away.
Congress surely didn’t intend to exclude a
surviving child or spouse when it expanded GI
benefits in 2009. I cannot imagine losing a
child, and we honor those who serve by clearing
up this inconsistency and providing some small
measure of relief.
“We are grateful to Congressman Labrador for his
persistent work on behalf of veterans who
experience a tragedy similar to our losing
Shauna,” the Hills said in a statement. “While
the number of affected families won’t be large,
it will be a comfort to us and others facing
such a terrible loss.”
I’m humbled to be joined by 12 of my House
colleagues in introducing this legislation and
am happy to have the Concerned Veterans for
America and Military Order of the Purple Heart
endorsing this legislation.
U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has introduced
companion legislation in the Senate.
I will continue to be a strong advocate for our
veterans and greatly appreciate the service and
sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.
Though we cannot repay the debt, I work in the
House of Representative to ensure our
commitments to them are kept. If you or veteran
you know needs assistance with a federal agency,
please contact me.
My staff and I will do everything we can to
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