Vets want education benefits protected during pandemic


Senate passed a bill, House working on it

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The coronavirus pandemic is sending the economy into a downward spiral with consequences that have spread from Wall Street to Main Street. Now veterans worry they could be hit next.

Veterans are worried that even if they stay healthy their education benefits will take a hit.
But Sen. Cory Gardner said Congress is working to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“What we’re trying to do with veterans is make sure that we get as much help and resources to our veterans as possible,” the Colorado Republican said.

Veterans who attend classes in person get a larger housing stipend than those who attend online classes. They worry those benefits could be slashed as colleges move all classes out of the classroom and onto the internet.

On Monday, the Senate passed a bill to protect those benefits.

North Dakota Republican Kevin Cramer, who sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee, said it’s a stand-alone bill. “However, to me, it seems like this stand-alone bill would become part of a broader package.”

The bill is headed to the House where Nevada’s Dina Titus said lawmakers were already working on a similar bill.

“It would apply to future any kind of emergency situation when benefits would be interrupted,” Titus said.

Veterans advocacy groups say there’s no time to waste because GI Bill benefits are paid on a monthly basis — and benefits for April are alreayd being processed.

The US House of Representatives is not in Washington this week but is scheduled to return next week.

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