Bill introduced by Costello would aid disabled vets with loans
Legislation aimed at aiding military veterans who are experiencing financial stresses was introduced recently in Congress, just prior to Memorial Day.
The bill would allow those veterans who sustain a total and permanent disability as a result of their service to have their outstanding student loans erased. Currently, not all veterans with permanently disabling service-connected disabilities receive the relief they are entitled to simply because they are unaware of their rights under the law. To help solve this problem, eligible veterans would be notified and given simple instructions on how to apply for relief under a streamlined process, according to an announcement about the legislation
Titled the Match Veterans to Student Loan Protections (MVP) Act, the bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, along with bipartisan members of the House of Representatives. Other sponsors include U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, of Hazleton, and Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., Mark Takano, D-Calif., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Dina Titus, D-Nev. Costello is a former member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The MVP Act would ensure veterans who incur a total and permanent disability (TPD) are proactively identified and notified of their eligibility for student loan discharge.
According to a press release issued by Costello’s office last week, this legislation would create a new computer matching system between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Education. This program would automatically identify federal student loan borrowers who are veterans determined to be unemployable due to a service-connected condition. Eligibility includes veterans with either a 100 percent disabling service-connected condition or an individual employability determination from the VA.
Similar systems are already in place to automatically identify student loan borrowers who are eligible for TPD discharge based on their status as recipients of Social Security disability benefits. This legislation would create equal treatment for individuals who receive an unemployability determination through the VA rather than the Social Security Administration.
“Servicemembers make humbling sacrifices for our country, and veterans who return home with their lives permanently altered by disability deserve to know exactly what rights they are afforded under the law, including the right to student loan discharge,” said Costello in the release. “I am honored to represent thousands of Pennsylvania veterans, and it is my hope this program will provide relief to those whose lives and livelihoods are permanently altered as a result of their service to our nation.”
“Every day, brave men and women sacrifice everything to defend our freedom and protect our country,” said Sinema. “When they return home, they deserve our highest gratitude – that includes knowing their legal rights and benefits. Our MVP Act is a commonsense solution that cuts bureaucratic red tape and helps Arizona veterans achieve the American Dream.”
“Our brave men and women in the military selflessly put themselves in harm’s way, and we owe them a debt that we can never fully repay,” said Barletta. “When they return from the military with a disability, we ought to be clearing barriers for them to make their transition easier. Relief from student debt is a benefit they deserve.”