November 08, 2019

Warren, Cassidy Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Student Veterans' Housing Benefits During Natural Disasters

"Student veterans should never have to worry about obstacles that can undermine their educational goals"

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs today introduced legislation to protect student veterans from losing their housing benefits in the event a natural disaster.

Under current law, veterans' housing benefits could end if a natural disaster closes a school for longer than a month. The Strengthening Disaster Assistance for Student Veterans Act grants the Veterans Affairs secretary the authority to extend those benefits.

"All three of my older brothers served in the military and taught me about the importance of honoring our promises to the brave men and women in uniform, who deserve the opportunity to build a future for themselves and their families," said Senator Warren. "Student veterans should never have to worry about obstacles that can undermine their educational goals, including affording a place to live when their school is closed due to an emergency, and that's why Senator Cassidy and I have a bipartisan bill to ensure our government keeps its promises to our student veterans."

"Student veterans have earned their benefits with their service to our nation," said Dr. Cassidy. "Losing those benefits because of a disaster is a failure of the law. When recovering after disaster, losing housing should not be on the list of worries for our veterans."

Senator Warren deeply appreciates the sacrifices and contributions that veterans, servicemembers and their families make for our country. As a senator, she has fought hard for student veterans and military borrowers:

  • She secured new protections for active-duty servicemembers illegally overcharged on federal student loans and helped obtain refunds for over 80,000 military borrowers after pressuring the Department of Education to act. Senator Warren's report and the Education Department's Office of Inspector General investigation she prompted eventually led the Secretary of Education to agree to conduct new reviews and refund money to over 80,000 military borrowers who were overcharged on their federal student loans between 2008 and 2014.
  • She helped pass a bipartisan measure to protect student veterans from the consequences of delayed G.I. Bill benefit processing.
  • She helped secure G.I. Bill educational benefits for Purple Heart recipients who were previously deemed ineligible. Senator Warren joined Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and other senators to introduce bipartisan legislation to expand eligibility to all Purple Heart recipients. This change was signed into law as part of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act in August 2017.
  • She fought for an agreement, announced in April 2019, between the Departments of Defense and Education to automate for servicemembers a benefit that exempts them from paying any interest on their student loans while serving in war zones. She continues to advocate for those who paid such interest in the past to receive refunds.