Ensuring Educational Opportunities for Disabled Veterans

Ensuring educational opportunities disabled veterans

Ensuring Educational Opportunities for Disabled Veterans

On November 12th, 2020, U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced legislation seeking to improve the requirements for America’s disabled service members attempting to receive federal financial aid.

The Honor Our Nation’s Oath to Remember (HONOR) Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act, or H.R. 8748, seeks to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by updating the definition of untaxed income and benefits by excluding veterans benefits, to include VA Disability Compensation, from the list of benefits required by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

 

>> Frustrated with your VA disability rating?  Register for a free consultation for help with increasing your rating to get the compensation you deserve.  Please go here.

 

Currently, any disability compensation received from the VA must be reported in the FAFSA application, which is then considered when calculating an applicant’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). For veterans and their families who send their children to college, the additional reporting requirements may cause more of a financial burden for these families, presumably since it could reduce the amount of federal aid the student receives.

“We need to be doing everything we can to help our veterans. Our disabled veterans put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and deserve full access to educational opportunities when they return home,” said Fitzpatrick in a statement this past November. The HONOR Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act “will amend existing law to ensure that VA Disability Compensation is not factored in to FAFSA allocation, to help our veterans receive as much tuition assistance as they are eligible for. We should be making it easier for our veterans to get an education after serving, not harder,” he concluded.

From US Representative Spanberger, “Our nation’s veterans and their families deserve the strongest possible benefits we can provide – and current FAFSA rules unfairly put these families at a financial disadvantage.”

Representative Fitzpatrick has claimed on his website that the Student Veterans of America (SVA), one of the largest advocates for student veterans and military-connected students, supports and endorses H.R. 8748.

“SVA supports the HONOR Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act because it will remove these benefits from federal student aid calculations to ensure military affiliated students are honored for their sacrifices, and we commend Representatives Spanberger and Fitzpatrick for their leadership on this issue.” This statement was credited to Justin Hauschild, a Legal Fellow at SVA, but the statement was not found on SVA’s website.

From here, the legislation will likely be referred to a congressional committee for evaluation. If it is found that the act has merit, a vote will be scheduled in the House of Representatives. If it is then passed, it will be sent over to the Senate, and ultimately the President’s desk. 

We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates as they arise.

(Image courtesy of Fotocitizen via Pixabay)

 

>> Frustrated with your VA disability rating?  Register for a free consultation for help with increasing your rating to get the compensation you deserve.  Please go here.

 

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About the author

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Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.