On Veterans Day, Spanberger, Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Correct Flaw in Financial Aid System for Disabled Veterans & their Families

The HONOR Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act Would Remove VA Disability Compensation from Military Families’ Estimated Family Contribution in the FAFSA Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) today introduced bipartisan legislation to fix an issue in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that has unfairly penalized disabled veterans and their families.

Currently, Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Compensation must be reported in the FAFSA and is taken into consideration when calculating an applicant’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Because this tax-free payment remains a factor in the FAFSA process, this requirement has caused many veterans and their families to take on an additional financial burden when sending their children to college.

The bipartisan Honor Our Nation’s Oath to Remember (HONOR) Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act would fix this issue by excluding veteran benefits, including VA Disability Compensation, from the list of benefits required to be reported in the 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. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to make a commonsense change to FAFSA forms that will result in increased fairness for those who answered the call, fought to protect their fellow Americans, and kept our nation safe. I’d like to thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for his shared commitment to those who put on the uniform, and I look forward to finding additional ways to make sure no individual is unjustly penalized for their selfless service to our country.”

“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.”

“My husband, Matthew Ruzicka, served for 24 years in the United States Army, before retiring and beginning to collect Disability Payments for his service-connected injuries. Unfortunately, the amount of financial aid our children received for college reduced dramatically when Matt began receiving these benefits, as they are considered income in calculations for financial aid. These benefits have a specific purpose—to help address my husband’s service-connected injuries,” said Annette Ruzicka, Midlothian. “To treat these earned benefits as income is unjust and is actively hurting student veterans and veteran’s families like my own. I am grateful to Representative Spanberger for her leadership on this issue.”

The HONOR Our Veterans’ Sacrifice Act is endorsed by Student Veterans of America.

“Military survivors and disabled veterans receive benefits for the immense losses they have endured and the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation, but these same benefits unfortunately can count against beneficiaries when they apply for federal financial aid to pursue higher education,” said Justin Hauschild, Legal Fellow, Student Veterans of America. “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.”

Click here to read the full bill text.


Recent Posts

Feb 22, 2024

Spanberger Urges Health Insurers to Fully Cover Birth Control, As Required by the Affordable Care Act

This Effort Comes After Years of Systemic Noncompliance by Insurance Plans & Women Paying Out of Pocket or Facing Administrative Red Tape to Access Birth Control WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined more than 150 U.S. House and U.S. Senate colleagues in urging health insurers to improve access to birth control by […]

Feb 21, 2024

Spanberger Announces Sixth Annual Congressional Art Competition, Invites Virginia High School Students to Submit Artwork

The Winner’s Artwork Will Be Displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building for One Year Alongside Winners from All 50 States WOODBRIDGE, Va. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today invited high school students from Virginia’s Seventh District to submit original artwork for the annual Congressional Art Competition. Every year, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives […]

Feb 16, 2024

ICYMI: Spanberger Hosts Virtual Telephone Town Hall Focused on Issues Facing Virginia Veterans & Military Families

During Thursday’s Interactive Event, the Congresswoman & Representatives from the Virginia Department of Veterans Services Were Joined by More Than 4,100 Virginians WOODBRIDGE, Va. — On Thursday, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger hosted an open, public telephone town hall focused on issues facing Virginia’s Veterans, military families, and caregivers. During the event, Spanberger was joined by representatives […]