WASHINGTON—The Senate unanimously passed a package of veterans’ legislation that includes provisions authored and championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee.
“This legislation will improve the lives of our veterans and their families. Passage of these measures represents the broad support our veterans enjoy. I’m proud to be a voice for our veterans and will continue to ensure they receive the services and benefits they have earned,” Boozman said
Boozman and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) Servicemembers Improved Transition through Reforms for Ensuring Progress (SIT-REP) Act, legislation that would ensure student veterans are not forced to endure additional financial burdens and are not denied access to school facilities due to delayed processing of G.I. Bill benefit payments, was included in the legislative package.
The SIT REP Act will:
- Prohibit a college, university, or training program from adopting a policy in which it imposes a late fee on eligible student veterans, denies them access to school facilities (such as classrooms and libraries); or requires them to take out additional loans due to a delayed G.I. Bill benefit payment from the VA to the school;
- In the event of a delay by the VA in issuing a G.I. Bill benefit payment directly to a school, prohibit the school from imposing late fees on student veterans and denying them access to school facilities for up to 90 days after the school certifies tuition and fees. This provision would apply only to benefits that are paid directly to the school;
- Allow the VA Secretary to waive these two aforementioned prohibitions when appropriate;
- Require the VA to distribute G.I. Bill payments to the school within 60 days from when the school certifies tuition and fees for the student;
- Mandate a report from the VA to Congress twice a year with a summary of any cases in which delayed G.I. Bill disbursements occurred and an explanation for the delays.
Boozman-led provisions in the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 also include:
- Improving the VA’s processing of veterans’ benefits by requiring the department to update its IT systems so that claimants are able to electronically review and revise information about dependents;
- Clarification and expansion of the definition of homeless veterans who are eligible for assistance under the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
The House passed this legislation on December 10. It now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
Original article source: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/12/boozman-led-legislation-to-eliminate-unintentional-financial-burdens-for-student-veterans-headed-to-president-s-desk | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council