Servicemen's Readjustment Act

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Lustron House Exterior.jpg
A woman relaxes at an umbrella table in the yard behind a Lustron house, ca. 1947-1950. Lustron homes were prefabricated, single family, homes constructed of porcelain steel. They were manufactured in Columbus, Ohio.

On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen's Readjustment Act. This legislation is better known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act provided government assistance to World War II veterans as they returned home upon the termination of their military service.

The G.I. Bill provided veterans with low-interest mortgages, unemployment insurance, and financial assistance to attend college. This legislation helped millions of veterans to purchase their first homes. With more people now able to afford homes, the growth of suburbs resulted. Millions of other veterans enrolled in colleges, where the government helped to pay tuition, books, and living expenses at the institutions of the veterans' choice. By 1951, eight million veterans had used G.I. Bill benefits to attend college. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act also provided veterans with unemployment compensation in the amount of twenty dollars per week for up to fifty-two weeks, giving these men the opportunity to return home and to find work.

The G.I. Bill dramatically helped World War II veterans. Homeownership and a college education were out of reach of many Americans before passage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act. For the first time, many working-class men and African Americans had access to these parts of the American dream, including the 839,000 Ohioans who served. Since World War II, the federal government has expanded G.I. Bill benefits to veterans of other conflicts.

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