Barletta, Maloney Bill Automatically Forgives Disabled Vets’ Student Loans
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, and Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, NY-18, today introduced bipartisan legislation to cut through red tape and automatically forgive students loans for eligible disabled veterans. The Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act would increase interagency communication and cooperation in order to reduce the burden placed on our veterans to ensure their federal student loans are discharged, a benefit already entitled to veterans with a total and permanent disability or a 100 percent service-connected disability. Currently, the law requires a disabled veteran to seek out this benefit and file the paperwork themselves in order to get their student loans forgiven.
“When our brave men and women in the military volunteer for service, they don’t get to pick or choose the time of any deployment,” Rep. Barletta said. “They have selflessly put themselves in harm’s way, and we owe them a debt that we can never fully repay. When they return from the military with a disability, we ought to be clearing barriers for them, not bogging them down in red tape and paperwork. Automatically forgiving student debt is but one benefit they deserve.”
“My dad was disabled while serving in the Navy, and when he came home his country had his back, helping him go to college on the GI Bill. But far too often these days, the burden is on our veterans to find and secure the benefits they earned while serving our country. We should be making it easier for our veterans to go to college, not harder,” said Rep. Maloney. “My legislation would cut through bureaucratic red tape and ensure that our disabled veterans automatically get their student loans forgiven – a benefit they’ve been promised and earned but one they rarely get.”
“Requiring the Department of Education, VA, and DOD to coordinate so qualifying veterans always receive their student loan discharges is the right thing to do. The VFW supports the Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act of 2016, and thanks Congressmen Maloney and Barletta for their leadership on this issue,” said Ray Kelley, VFW National Legislative Director.
“Veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability are entitled to loan forgiveness, yet the burden is on the veteran to ensure they get their loans forgiven. DAV supports Representatives Maloney and Barletta and commends them for introducing legislation that would cut through the red tape and ensure the veterans who sacrificed in service to our nation automatically get the student loan forgiveness they deserve,” said Paul Varela, Disabled American Veterans.
“For 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans burdened with student debt, the Department of Education loan forgiveness program can be a crucial lifeline to help them avoid financial distress. Yet many who qualify are unaware of this benefit and continue to struggle with their loans. Reps. Maloney and Barletta’s important legislation will remove barriers and reach more qualified veterans who have earned this benefit through their sacrifice,” said Carl Blake, Associate Executive Director, Government Relations, Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“One hundred percent disabled veterans already have the option for loan forgiveness, and this bill simplifies the process by which they can access this benefit,” said MOAA President Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret). “Any measure that will support re-adjustment and quality of life after becoming 100% disabled not only makes sense, it’s the right thing to do.”
The bipartisan Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act would ensure greater cooperation between the Department of Education, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense by establishing a system for transferring relevant information for veterans with 100 percent service-connected disabilities who have outstanding loans, automatically discharging the student loans, and notifying the veterans that their loan has been discharged. This legislation has been endorsed by: Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), The American Veterans (AMVETS), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Student Veterans of America (SVA).