Veterans To Receive GI Bill Benefits Until Next Summer
One of the most popular benefits veterans receive is the GI Bill, which pays for college—or it’s supposed to, anyway. There has been concern over these veterans benefits, with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) not giving veterans full protections.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced veterans to take remote classes. This affects how GI benefits are paid. Students typically receive money for tuition as well as a monthly housing stipend. Those who attend in-person classes receive the full financial benefit, whereas those enrolled in online-only classes only get half of the housing stipend.
This became a frustrating situation for veterans when the coronavirus hit the United States in early 2020. Because classes switched to remote only, students lost half of their GI Bill housing stipend. This left tens of thousands of veterans worried about making rent and mortgage payments.
Veterans will not have to worry any longer. On December 15, Congress finalized plans to extend GI Bill protections through next summer. Student veterans who cannot take in-person classes will be able to receive full benefits, even if they are taking remote classes. This will affect an estimated 57,000 students.
This is great news for veterans, as being forced to give up half of a housing stipend can be a huge pay cut, to say the least. The difference between a half payout and a full payout can be as much as $2,000, which means students have to make decisions about housing and education. Payouts depend on the veteran’s location as well as their school.
While some schools have gone back to offering in-person classes, not all have. The decision to remain remote may lie with the students, the schools, or state or local regulations that limit class attendance.
Congress granted VA leaders the authority to continue paying out the full housing stipends for remote students. That was set to expire on December 21, but approval from the Senate has pushed that date back to summer 2022, as COVID-19 is still rampant in many areas and not going away anytime soon.
Many veterans are continuing to take classes online and they need the full benefits the GI Bill offers so they can continue their studies. The VA is focused on keeping veterans housed and educated, so extending the bill and allowing students to keep their full benefits is in everyone’s best interests. Veterans should not have to choose or face uncertainty.
However, many veterans were in fact facing uncertainty, as the bill took a long time to finalize. Even though the measure was not controversial, there were other laws that took priority over the last few months, causing stress to veterans. President Joe Biden is expected to approve the measure and sign it into law soon.
Learn More About Veterans Benefits
Veterans should be able to receive their full benefits in times of economic distress, such as a pandemic. Veterans should not be forced to pick and choose.
Need help understanding your veterans benefits? White Plains veterans disability benefits lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon can help. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 914-294-2145 or fill out the online form.