October 04, 2019

Representatives Mike Levin and Katie Porter Introduce Legislation to Expand Public Service Loan Forgiveness for VSO Workers

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Katie Porter (D-CA) introduced legislation to expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for individuals who work at Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs).

Currently, most VSO workers do not qualify for loan forgiveness because the PSLF program is generally limited to 501c3 organizations, disqualifying VSOs like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) that file under other tax codes. Levin’s bill, the Veteran Service Equity Act, closes that loophole to ensure that all non-partisan VSO employees qualify for the PSLF program.

“Individuals who dedicate their careers to supporting veterans are true patriots and deserve our gratitude,” said Representative Levin. “Veteran Service Organizations play a critical role in supporting the men and women who have sacrificed for our country, and workers at non-partisan VSOs ought to be treated equally. If they make timely student loan payments for 10 years, then they deserve to have their public loans forgiven, regardless of their employer’s tax status. I am proud to introduce legislation with my friend Katie Porter to help ensure that the VSO workforce is treated fairly.”

“Helping our veterans understand and claim the benefits they’re owed is undoubtedly a public service, and we should treat it that way under our student loan forgiveness programs,” Congresswoman Porter said. “I’m proud to partner with my colleague Mike Levin to introduce the Veteran Service Equity Act, which would recognize those working at non-political Veterans Service Organizations the same way we recognize others in public service careers. It’s time we right this wrong.”

As Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Representative Levin has fought side-by-side with Veteran Service Organizations to ensure that no veteran is left behind. Levin has introduced and passed six bipartisan bills through the House of Representatives to support veterans, including two that were signed into law by the president. Levin also recently helped introduce legislation to improve the student loan process by renaming “master promissory notes” to reflect what they are: student loan contracts. The Student Loan Contract Act would help students better understand the commitment they are making when they sign a master promissory note.

Congresswoman Porter has been a consistent advocate for our veterans and their families. She successfully advocated for additional funding in a House-passed spending bill to support programs to provide rental assistance for homeless veterans and long-term case management, supportive services, and permanent housing support. She led a bipartisan effort to require that those calling the Veterans Crisis Line receive an immediate response from a trained individual and to increase funding for the Veterans Crisis Line.