Maloney, Barletta Introduce Bipartisan Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act
Washington — Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) and Lou Barletta (R-PA-11) introduced bipartisan legislation to cut through red tape and automatically forgive students loans for eligible disabled veterans. The bipartisan Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act would increase interagency communication and cooperation in order to reduce the burden placed on our veterans to ensure their federal student loans are discharged, a benefit already entitled to veterans with a total and permanent disability (TPD) or a 100 percent service-connected disability. Currently, the law requires a disabled veteran to seek out this benefit and file the paperwork themselves in order to get their student loans forgiven.
“My dad was disabled while serving in the Navy, and when he came home his country had his back, helping him go to college on the GI Bill. But far too often these days, the burden is on our veterans to find and secure the benefits they earned while serving our country. We should be making it easier for our veterans to go to college, not harder,” said Rep. Maloney. “My legislation would cut through bureaucratic red tape and ensure that our disabled veterans automatically get their student loans forgiven – a benefit they’ve been promised and earned but one they rarely get.”
“When our brave men and women in the military volunteer for service, they don’t get to pick or choose the time of any deployment. They have selflessly put themselves in harm’s way, and we owe them a debt that we can never fully repay. When they return from the military with a disability, we ought to be clearing barriers for them, not bogging them down in red tape and paperwork. Automatically forgiving student debt is but one benefit they deserve,” said Rep. Barletta.
“Requiring the Department of Education, VA, and DOD to coordinate so qualifying veterans always receive their student loan discharges is the right thing to do. The VFW supports the Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act of 2016, and thanks Congressmen Maloney and Barletta for their leadership on this issue,” said Ray Kelley, VFW National Legislative Director.
“Veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability are entitled to loan forgiveness, yet the burden is on the veteran to ensure they get their loans forgiven. DAV supports Representatives Maloney and Barletta and commends them for introducing legislation that would cut through the red tape and ensure the veterans who sacrificed in service to our nation automatically get the student loan forgiveness they deserve,” said Paul Varela, Disabled American Veterans.
“For 100-percent service-connected disabled veterans burdened with student debt, the Department of Education loan forgiveness program can be a crucial lifeline to help them avoid financial distress. Yet many who qualify are unaware of this benefit and continue to struggle with their loans. Reps. Maloney and Barletta’s important legislation will remove barriers and reach more qualified veterans who have earned this benefit through their sacrifice,” said Carl Blake, Associate Executive Director, Government Relations, Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“100% disabled veterans already have the option for loan forgiveness, and this bill simplifies the process by which they can access this benefit,” said MOAA President Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret). “Any measure that will support re-adjustment and quality of life after becoming 100% disabled not only makes sense, it’s the right thing to do.”
“Once again Congressman Maloney is at the forefront of Veteran's issues. This legislation is another attempt by our elected officials and citizens to express their gratitude to the service members and their families for their continued sacrifices during difficult times. This type of genuine concern and treatment should be both an incentive and motivating factor for those individuals who are contemplating military service in the future,” said General John Hussey, Chair of Rep. Maloney’s Veteran Advisory Board.
“There are far too many programs that exist to benefit veterans but never do. The Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act of 2016 ensures that the military men and women who’ve bravely put the welfare of their countrymen first, and in the process have become totally and permanently disabled, are now relieved of having to repay their personal student loans – without having to fill out any paperwork. That’s what we call “taking care of the troops,”” said Christian Farrell, Director, Orange County Veterans Services Agency.
“Each and every veteran deserves our appreciation for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country. The challenge of returning to the civilian sector can be difficult for many of our veterans, but specifically our disabled veterans,” said Dr. Kristine Young, president of SUNY Orange. “Representative Maloney is working to assure veterans have every opportunity to access higher education and take advantage of the many benefits they have earned. His bill represents exactly why SUNY Orange has recently hired veteran Jaime Morales to serve as our veterans coordinator. We want to be sure to help our student veterans connect with every benefit available to them, including the items detailed in Representative Maloney’s bill.”
“Enhancing inter-agency communication to ensure our disabled veterans receive the student loan benefits they’ve earned is the right thing to do,” said Dr. Pamela Edington, president of Dutchess Community College. “We work every day to assist veterans in accessing the programs and services to which they’re entitled; reducing bureaucracy to help those who sacrificed so much for this country is a positive and important step.”
“At the Mount we have helped many disabled veterans to navigate the current system. I think increased coordination is needed to be sure our veterans access the benefits they have earned. The resources should be automatically discharged to eligible veterans to remove the burden of paperwork that is upon them. Having the Department of Education be required to notify the veteran, when the loan is discharged would avoid tremendous stress on those who have protected our freedoms,” said Lisa Gallina, Director of Admissions for Graduate Programs and Adult Degree Retention, Mount Saint Mary College.
The bipartisan Disabled Veterans Student Loan Protection Act would ensure greater cooperation between the Department of Education, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense by establishing a system for transferring relevant information for veterans with 100-percent service-connected disabilities who have outstanding loans, automatically discharging the student loans, and notifying the veterans that their loan has been discharged. This legislation has been endorsed by: Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), The American Veterans (AMVETS), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Student Veterans of America (SVA).