Bipartisan bill introduced to restore veterans’ education benefits
WASHINGTON (WTVQ/Press Release) – U.S. Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the amount of time certain veterans can utilize their GI Bill education benefits.
Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) restored GI Bill entitlements for veterans who previously used Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits. However, the VA did not extend the expiration date for these benefits, meaning some veterans received more months of GI Bill entitlements than they had time to use before the expiration date.
To resolve this, Rep. Barr and Rep. Levin are leading the More Opportunities for Veterans Education (MOVE) Act. This legislation will provide eligible veterans with sufficient time to use their restored GI Bill benefits by extending their expiration dates and requiring the VA to notify all veterans affected.
“We must ensure that veterans who served our country have access to the entirety of their education benefits earned through the Post 9/11 GI Bill,” said Rep. Barr. “Our bill is a straightforward legislative fix to achieve just that. This legislation will help veterans obtain skills, training and educational benefits to further their post-service success. It is great to partner with Representative Levin on this bill, and I will keep working to get his bipartisan bill signed into law.”
“I’m glad the VA restored GI Bill entitlements for many veterans who have taken advantage of Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits, but we must extend the expiration date to use those benefits so eligible veterans can take full advantage of them,” said Rep. Levin. “I’ve heard of veterans at Saddleback College and other local institutions who need this extension to make the most of their restored GI Bill benefits, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation on their behalf. I appreciate Congressman Barr’s partnership on this commonsense bill and I’m hopeful we can advance it through the House soon.”
“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently changed its interpretation of the ‘48-month rule’, allowing student veterans to use their Vocational Readiness & Employment (VR&E) benefits up to its cap before using any other education benefit up to its own, separate cap,” said Justin Monk, Policy Associate at Student Veterans of America. “In addition, VA also restored entitlement to veterans who were previously denied the correct amount of time to use their benefits. Unfortunately, thousands of veterans receiving these restored benefits have fewer months until their delimiting dates than the number of months they had restored. The More Opportunities for Veterans Education (MOVE) Act provides an intelligent, common-sense solution by extending the timeframe during which any eligible student veteran with restored entitlement can utilize those benefits. SVA is grateful to Chairman Levin for his leadership on this issue, and we hope to see swift passage of this bill through the House and Senate.”
“Recently, a policy change refunded Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to veterans who relinquished them to participate in VA’s Veterans Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program. However, many veterans who served prior to “Forever GI Bill” have already passed the delimiting date that allows them to use these entitlements. The MOVE act is a commonsense solution to this problem. It requires the VA to inform veterans of this change and provides them with an extended amount of time to use the benefits they’ve earned. In today’s job market, continuing education is vital for career advancement. It also a great tool for personal and intellectual growth. Congressman Barr has once again shown why veterans of all political persuasions appreciate his leadership. His bipartisan efforts with Congressman Mike Levin ensures that veterans who served during the early days of the Global War on Terror will have access to the benefits they have earned,” Dr. Travis Martin, Director, Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies and who is a U.S. Army Veteran.
Specifically, the MOVE Act would apply to veterans who, as of April 1, 2021, did not have at least 12 months in addition to the number of months the VA restored in GI Bill benefits until their expiration date. The bill would ensure these individuals have 12 months plus the number of restored months until the window to use their benefits expires, also known as the delimiting date. This 12-month cushion would ensure veterans have ample time to plan for their education, apply for a program, enroll, and begin class. The bill also requires the VA to notify all covered veterans of their new delimiting date within 30 days of enactment.