WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02) has introduced legislation to ensure that veterans continue to receive their GI benefits in areas affected by disasters such as Hurricane Michael. H.R. 7119 extends the amount of time that the Department of Veterans Affairs can continue to pay educational benefits to veterans when a school is temporarily closed.
“Veterans returning to civilian life need support and the GI Bill is a critical component in their transition,” said Dr. Dunn. “Following Hurricane Michael, I learned that some veterans were in danger of losing their educational benefits because their schools were unable to open and comply with federal regulations. It’s clear that these regulations fail to take into account the long-term devastation a hurricane like Michael causes. My bill ensures that veterans are able to continue working toward completing their degrees by extending time requirements to their benefit.”
H.R. 7119 protects GI benefits by extending the authority of the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue paying educational benefits to veterans when a school is temporarily closed. The extension would double the amount of time under current law the Department is authorized to provide these benefits - from 4 weeks to 8 weeks, or the end of the term, whichever is sooner. Many veterans in areas affected by Hurricane Michael recently faced the possibility of losing those benefits because schools, such as Gulf Coast State College, were damaged and remained closed for weeks after the storm.