In January 2021, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 was signed into law. VBA’s Education Service strives to provide timely and accurate delivery of education benefits. This additional support will further enable the fulfillment of this mission.
This new law features 32 provisions that impact the administration and oversight of GI Bill® benefits. Education Service has been hard at work implementing 15 provisions that became effective the day of enactment on January 5, 2021, including the extension of a student’s delimiting date due to COVID-19. Many of the remaining provisions will take effect on or after August 1, 2021.
These provisions further empower GI Bill beneficiaries to achieve their educational and career goals, and include new requirements for enrollment verification, expanded restoration of entitlement opportunities, substantial changes to the oversight of GI Bill-approved schools, and other enhancements to education-related topics.
What does this mean for GI Bill students?
The new legislation enhances education benefits for Veterans, service members, families and survivors, while also supporting the improvement and expansion of various GI Bill programs. Additionally, it gives VA certain authorities to continue to pay education benefits to Veterans negatively impacted by COVID-19, including allowing them to preserve entitlement to benefits when they are unable to complete courses due to COVID-19.
In addition to protecting benefits during COVID-19, this law also expands GI Bill programs. A few highlights include: expanded eligibility for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program for individuals enrolled in dual secondary degrees, health care professionals completing clinical training; and increased annual funding for the Veteran Employment for Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) Program to open additional training opportunities for Veterans seeking a career in the high tech sector.
With the enhancements, expansions, and additional support provided in this law, Education Service builds on its commitment to help GI Bill beneficiaries achieve their academic and vocational goals.
Have questions? Learn more about the Isakson and Roe Act here: https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/isaksonroe.asp.
Terry Warren is a supervisory management analyst in VA’s Education Service