April 07, 2022

Reps. Mike Levin and Katie Porter Introduce Legislation to Expand Public Service Loan Forgiveness to VSO Employees

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

Currently, most VSO workers do not qualify for public 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. The Veteran Service Equity Act closes that loophole to ensure that all employees at VA-recognized VSOs qualify for the PSLF program.

“Veterans Service Organizations play a critical role in supporting our brave veterans who have served our country. Their employees, who dedicate their careers to supporting our veterans, are true patriots and they ought to be treated like other public servants when it comes to public loan forgiveness,” said Rep. Levin. “If they make timely student loan payments for 10 years, then they deserve to have their public loans forgiven. I am proud to introduce the Veteran Service Equity Act with my friend and colleague Representative Katie Porter to help ensure that VSO employees are treated fairly and in line with other hard working public servants.”

“Veterans Service Organizations have been a critical resource for countless veterans, servicemembers, and military families,” said Rep. Porter. “Making it easier for VSO workers to have their federal student loans forgiven honors their public service and supports our military community. I’m proud to partner with Congressman Levin on this legislation to extend federal student loan forgiveness to the public servants working at Veterans Service Organizations.”

“DAV supports the Veteran Service Equity Act, which will amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to include a full-time job with a veterans service organization as a public service job eligible for public service loan forgiveness,” said DAV National Commander Andrew Marshall. “We thank Representative Levin and Representative Porter for their recognition of the amazing service VSOs provide directly to veterans and their families.”

"This bill will ensure individuals who work towards public service at Veterans Service Organizations, who help service members and veterans understand and receive the benefits they have earned and need, are eligible for public service loan forgiveness (PSLF),” said Emily DeVito Associate Director, VFW National Legislative Service. “We are incredibly grateful to Congressman Levin and Congresswoman Porter for ensuring these individuals are not left behind for this important financial relief.”

“When someone dedicates their career to working at a Veterans Service Organization, they are joining a critical public mission to help our servicemembers receive the benefits they deserve,” said Paul E. Dillard, The American Legion National Commander. “The American Legion is proud to support the Veteran Service Equity Act to ensure VSO workers qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and applaud Representative Levin and Representative Porter for their leadership on behalf of the men and women who dedicate their live to supporting our veterans.”

“As a Congressionally chartered 501(c)(19) Veterans Service Organization, our employees, many of whom have served, are currently disqualified from PSLF,” said Justin Jump, President of The Enlisted Association (TREA). "The Veteran Service Equity Act closes this loophole and will provide VSO employees with, what we feel, should be an earned benefit of serving our nation's veterans. We thank Representatives Mike Levin and Katie Porter for their continued efforts and urge Congress to pass this bill without delay.”

As Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Representative Levin has fought side-by-side with Veterans Service Organizations to ensure that no veteran is left behind. Levin has introduced and passed 18 bipartisan bills into law to support veterans.