WASHINGTON – President Trump has signed into law S.3503, legislation introduced by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to protect GI Bill benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak. This legislation will ensure that veterans, their dependents, and servicemembers, who are using their GI Bill benefits, will be able to continue receiving their full tuition and monthly housing payments as universities and other approved programs move classes online to prevent the spread of COVID-19.“I’m grateful Congress and President Trump acted quickly to pass this legislation and sign it into law, making certain our veterans don’t lose their GI Bill benefits,” said Chairman Moran.
Current law provides certain approval requirements before a school or training program can receiving GI Bill payments, and these requirements often differ between online programs and brick and mortar programs. Last week, Congress was alerted by the Department of Veterans Affairs that as colleges and universities close campuses and move to online programs, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, veterans and other beneficiaries, using the GI Bill, faced the possibility of having their benefits negatively impacted. Not only would this have resulted in VA no longer paying for the program of education, but it would have also resulted in a reduction or complete halt in a veteran’s monthly housing allowance that they rely on to pay their rent or mortgage. This bill allows student veterans to continue receiving their full benefits even if the universities and programs they are attending move classes online due to COVID-19.