A new bill before the U.S House of Representatives aims to address an issue in the federal financial aid system that penalizes disabled veterans and their families.
Representatives Abigail Spanberger and Brian Fitzpatrick introduced the legislation on Wednesday.
According to a release, veterans must currently list any Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form, which means those funds are considered when calculating the estimated family contribution of an applicant.
The lawmakers say because the tax-free payment is a factor in the FAFSA process, this causes many veterans and their families to take on an additional financial burden when sending children to college or returning to school themselves.
The bill, called the Honor Our Nation’s Oath to Remember Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act, would exclude veteran benefits, including disability compensation, from the list of benefits that must be reported on FAFSA.
“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,” said Spanberger.
“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. “Our bipartisan 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.”