Trump signs bill to protect military GI Bill benefits during coronavirus closures

Military

A performance division recruit flourishes the American flag during a pass-in-review graduation ceremony Jan. 31, 2020 at Recruit Training Command. More than 35,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp.(Photo courtesy/U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brandie Nix)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) — President Trump signed a bill on Saturday to safeguard GI Bill benefits for veterans and their beneficiaries attending college during the coronavirus closures.

GI Bill benefits allow eligible veterans, spouses, and dependants to receive a monthly housing stipend while attending approved classes. For many, that is the primary source of income which is used to pay rent, mortgage, and other additional living expenses.

Those that attend in-person classes receive a pro-rated monthly stipend based on where they reside and attend school. The online students receive a stipend as well, but in most cases, it’s less than half the pro-rated amount that full-time students receive.

With the universities and colleges shutting down, military-affiliated students that were attending in-person and receiving the full amount would no longer be eligible due to being forced to switch to online platforms. To add to that, not all in-person classes are approved for online learning under the benefits.

Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the bill to the House in an effort to protect military-affiliated students utilizing the GI Bill benefits.

The bill ensures that those forced to switch to online classes are protected and will continue to receive the full allotted monthly stipend.

“I applaud President Trump for signing this vital piece of legislation into law on behalf of student veterans across the country. Hundreds of thousands of veterans and others rely on the GI Bill to pay for school and to support their families,” said Roe. “Tonight, those students can rest assured that their benefits are protected despite whatever preventative measures their schools may take to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Our country has made a solemn promise to those who serve that the benefits they have earned will be protected, even in the most extraordinary times, and today we continued to deliver on that promise.”


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