Senate Passes Second GI Bill Fix for Student Veterans Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 6322, legislation that will allow student veterans to continue receiving certain education and training benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that would be reduced or halted due to programs unable to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate and House versions of this legislation were introduced by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.), House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-Tenn). The U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation on March 31. The legislation now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

“This legislative fix builds on previous legislation passed and signed into law to make certain our student veterans can continue to receive payments that they normally would from their education and training programs during this pandemic without having to worry about losing the benefits that they have earned,” said Chairman Moran. “The House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees acted quickly to pass this legislative fix, and I am pleased that we are able to provide our veterans with some certainty during this difficult time.”

“As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forces more schools and programs to shut their doors, we’ve got to ensure that our student veterans don’t fall behind,” said Ranking Member Tester. “This legislative solution does just that—it builds on our recent bipartisan effort to provide veterans relying on their education benefits with the financial assistance they’ve earned, especially when their lives have been interrupted by the national health emergency. I urge President Trump to sign our commonsense solution quickly into law, to support veterans working towards an education during this unprecedented time.”

"As the nation faces the COVID-19 pandemic, no student veteran should have to worry about losing income from work study jobs, interrupting their studies, or unexpected bills when their schools close,” said Chairman Takano. “I applaud the Senate for coming together to pass my bipartisan legislation and thank them for joining me and my friend Ranking Member Dr. Roe in safeguarding our student veterans’ benefits. I urge President Trump to quickly sign this legislation into law-- our student veterans have already waited long enough for these guarantees.”

“I am proud that, once again, Congress has taken quick, decisive action to safeguard student veterans’ earned benefits during this crisis,” said Ranking Member Roe. “With so much uncertainty about what lies ahead, we owe it to our veterans to ensure that the benefits they rely on will continue to be there for them, even in the most extraordinary times. Chairman Takano’s and my bill will do just that. I am grateful to my friends on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate for working hard to deliver this bill to President Trump's desk.”

H.R. 6322, the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020:

H.R. 6322 will make certain student veterans on the GI Bill can continue to receive housing and work payments as classes are disrupted. This legislation provides many benefits, including:

  • Allows student veterans that are in work study programs to still receive payments during this time even if they are unable to reach their place of employment due to COVID-19.
  • Makes certain veterans can receive additional housing allowance payments if their institution closes due to COVID-19.
  • Allows student veterans to have their education entitlements restored or extended if campuses are closed or veterans are forced to withdraw due to COVID-19.

This is the second GI Bill legislative fix passed due to COVID-19. The Senate and House passed and President Trump signed into law S.3503, a legislative fix introduced by Chairman Moran, Ranking Member Tester and several other members of the Senate to allow student veterans to continue online training and receiving GI Bill benefits even if they were no longer able to attend a university campus as classes were moved online to prevent the spread of the virus.

# # #