New Protections for Student Veterans During Covid-19
Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020
On April 28th, 2020, the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 was signed into law by President Trump.
The bill was introduced in late-March by Representative Mark Takano (D-CA-41) and gathered widespread support by many in Congress over the past few weeks.
The law addresses education programs and assistance for veterans from March 1 – December 21, 2020, deemed the “covered period”.
- Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue paying work-study allowances during emergency periods.
- Authorizes VA to continue paying educational assistance & subsistence allowances for education programs that were suspended or cancelled due to COVID-19.
- Extends the time limitation for using educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill when institutions close for emergency situations.
Work Study Provision
The first provision authorizes the VA to continue paying work-study allowances to veterans who were participating in a work study program through their school, even if the school and/or program were suspended due to COVID-19.
The amount of work-study payable to an individual during this emergency situation may not exceed the amount that would be payable if the veteran worked 25 hours per week.
An educational assistance payment will not be charged against your entitlement to educational assistance if you were unable to complete your program due to closure of your educational institution or suspension of your courses. This includes assistance from training and rehabilitation programs for veterans with service-connected disabilities.
Time Limit Extension
The new law also extends the time limit for using your education benefits under either the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill, when your institution is closed for emergencies or executive order. Included in that extension is the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
Housing & Subsistence Extensions
Next, the VA will continue to pay allowances to veterans enrolled in educational institutions closed for the pandemic. If your institution was closed or courses suspended during this time, you will continue to receive your Monthly Housing Allowances (MHA) for up to four weeks after your school’s closure.
Finally, the law authorizes the VA to continue paying subsistence allowance to a veteran for an additional two months following a program of employment services for full-time training, like their VET TEC Program.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your entitlements or benefits, contact the VA:
- using their online webform
- calling the benefits hotline (800-827-1000)
- or the GI Bill hotline (888-443-4551)
If you are a student veteran outside the United States, please call: +1-918-781-5678
- Congress to Stop Coronavirus’ Impact on GI Bill Rates
- SVA Student Veteran Covid-19 Survey Insights
- 6 GI Bill Myths Debunked
- Dependent’s Post-9/11 GI Bill Horror Story
- GI Bill Extensions Available Due to COVID-19
- Important GI Bill Update: 48-Month Rule
About the author
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.