December 01, 2021

Rep. Mike Levin Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Extending Deadline for Veterans to Use Restored GI Bill Benefits

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the amount of time certain veterans are able to use their GI Bill benefits. Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) restored GI Bill entitlements for veterans who previously used Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits. However, the VA did not extend the expiration date for these benefits, meaning some veterans received more months of GI Bill entitlements than they had time to use before the expiration date. Rep. Levin’s More Opportunities for Veterans Education (MOVE) Act will provide eligible veterans with sufficient time to use their restored GI Bill benefits by extending the benefits’ expiration dates.

“I’m glad the VA restored GI Bill entitlements for many veterans who have taken advantage of Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits, but we must extend the expiration date to use those benefits so eligible veterans can take full advantage of them,” said Rep. Levin. “I’ve heard of veterans at Saddleback College and other local institutions who need this extension to make the most of their restored GI Bill benefits, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation on their behalf. I appreciate Congressman Barr’s partnership on this commonsense bill and I’m hopeful we can advance it through the House soon.”

“We must ensure that veterans who served our country have access to the entirety of their education benefits earned through the Post 9/11 GI Bill,” said Rep. Barr. “Our bill is a straightforward legislative fix to achieve just that. This legislation will help veterans obtain skills, training and educational benefits to further their post-service success. It is great to  partner with Representative Levin on this bill, and I will keep working to get his bipartisan bill signed into law.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently changed its interpretation of the ‘48-month rule’, allowing student veterans to use their Vocational Readiness & Employment (VR&E) benefits up to its cap before using any other education benefit up to its own, separate cap,” said Justin Monk, Policy Associate at Student Veterans of America. “In addition, VA also restored entitlement to veterans who were previously denied the correct amount of time to use their benefits. Unfortunately, thousands of veterans receiving these restored benefits have fewer months until their delimiting dates than the number of months they had restored. The More Opportunities for Veterans Education (MOVE) Act provides an intelligent, common-sense solution by extending the timeframe during which any eligible student veteran with restored entitlement can utilize those benefits. SVA is grateful to Chairman Levin for his leadership on this issue, and we hope to see swift passage of this bill through the House and Senate.” 

Specifically, the MOVE Act would apply to veterans whose GI Bill benefits expiration date was within 12 months plus the number of months the VA restored, as of April 1, 2021. The bill would ensure these individuals have 12 months plus the number of restored months to use their benefits. This 12-month cushion would ensure veterans have ample time to plan for their education, apply for a program, enroll, and begin class. The bill also requires VA to notify all covered veterans of the updated timeframe to use their benefits within 30 days of enactment.