Representatives Sherrill, Miller-Meeks Introduce Bipartisan GI Bill NEED Act for Veterans’ Education

March 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) today introduced the bipartisan GI Bill NEED Act to protect veterans’ educational benefits from expiring due to institutional closures or other factors caused by the COVID-19 national emergency. This important legislation will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to pause the time limit currently placed on the use of GI Bill benefits, and allow them to restart the clock after it is safe for veterans to return to school.

“The GI Bill is one of the most transformational programs offered to our veterans,” said Rep. Sherrill. “We cannot let veterans get needlessly locked out of using their hard-won benefits because of COVID-19. It’s crucial that the VA Secretary be empowered to preserve those benefits by pausing the time-limit on the GI Bill. We owe it to our veterans and we owe it to the country to ensure they can get the education they deserve.”

“Over the past year, we have seen the COVID-19 public health emergency force universities and colleges across the country to temporarily close their doors. As a 24-year Army veteran, I know how important being able to use G.I. benefits is to ensure that our veterans can find meaningful employment,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “Our commonsense bill would allow our veterans to pause the clock on their G.I. benefits when the educational institution of their choice is closed due to an emergency. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner with Congresswoman Sherrill to help our veterans.”

The GI Bill National Emergency Extended Deadline Act (GI Bill NEED Act) will allow the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to pause the 10 or 15 years’ time-limit to use GI Bill benefits during times of national emergency and other crises, and restart the clock after it’s safe for veterans to return to school. This past year has been a challenge for all Americans, including those veterans who answered the call to serve and are now pursuing the education and skills advancement needed to find success in civilian life. The GI Bill NEED Act is a simple common sense solution to ensure those who answered the call to serve receive the benefits they’ve earned.

“The GI Bill is earned through self-sacrifice and service,” said Ann Treadaway, Director of the Office of Veteran and Military Programs and Services at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. “How can we put an expiration date on that when the opportunities to utilize it are cut off? This bill takes an unnecessary pressure off veterans and their families working towards their degrees.”

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