Veterans Benefits Package Legislation
Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans' Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 7105) includes a variety of expansion of benefits for surviving families:
Title I – Education Matters
- Section 1002 – Expands eligibility for Fry Scholarship to children of certain deceased members of the Armed Forces. Effective August 1, 2021.
- Section 1007 – Provides restoration of benefits for participants in the Veteran Readiness and Employment program in the event of a school closure, to provide parity between these individuals and individuals who are provided this restoration under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Section 1008 – Authorizes the Yellow Ribbon Program for international schools
- Section 1015 – Requires institutions to be eligible for participation in the Federal Student Aid program through Title IV of the Higher Education Act in order to be eligible to receive GI Bill funds. This requirement may be waived by the Secretary and if this waiver is utilized, the Secretary must report to Congress.
- Section 1016 – Requires that for a law school to be approved for GI Bill enrollments, they must be accredited by a specialized accrediting agency for legal programs (e.g. the American Bar Association).
Title II – Benefits
- Section 2009 – Lowers from 57 to 55 years old the age at which a surviving spouse may still receive dependency indemnity compensation benefits at the point of remarriage.
Title IV – Navy Seal Bill Mulder: Subtitle A – Service-connection and COVID-19
- Section 4101 – Outlines presumptions of service-connection for COVID-19 in a qualifying period of duty.
TAPS was instrumental in the passage of this legislation and will continue to advocate for a variety of other issues in 2021, including ensuring health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxins and their survivors, increasing Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), allowing surviving spouses to retain benefits upon remarriage, and further expansion of the Fry Scholarship.