Brooks Introduces Bill to Help Veterans Get the Most from GI Bill
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN05) introduced H.R. 1104, the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act. After completing their service, veterans are eligible for a limited number of months of GI Bill benefits, which reimburse them for educational expenses incurred. Current law requires veterans to use a full month of their GI Bill eligibility to be reimbursed for licensing, certification and national tests. Given the relatively low cost of many tests, it often simply isn’t worth it for veterans to lose potential reimbursement for an entire month of other education expenses, like tuition. The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act allows veterans to be reimbursed for approved licensing, certification and national tests, while still eligible to use their remaining GI Bill benefits for additional education expenses in the same month.
“When I met with the Department of Indiana American Legion last fall, high rates of unemployment and underemployment among young veterans was a top concern,” Brooks said. “Young veterans returning from service face challenges in finding and keeping a job that their civilian counterparts do not, and asking veterans to lose a full month of the education benefits they’ve earned just to take a test shouldn’t be one of them. This bill helps veterans get the most out of their GI Bill benefits and compete in the job market. It makes it easier for veterans to use the opportunities that licensing, certification and national tests provide to advance and enhance their education, and to build a career. ”
In January, the unemployment rate for the youngest generation of veterans was 6.3% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate in January was 4.8%. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 22 percent of veterans say they are underemployed, meaning that they are working at a job that is below their skill level, and 20 percent report working at a low-paying job.
Under the Veterans TEST Accessibility Act, veterans can get reimbursed for an approved test at a pro-rated amount based on their percentage of coverage under the post-9/11 GI Bill. Hundreds of licenses, certifications and tests are available for coverage and have been previously approved by the Veterans Administration. For example, licenses are required for veterans to become athletic trainers, real estate agents and fire fighters. If veterans are interested in careers as mechanics, IT professionals, computer programmers, electrical engineers and medical technicians, for example, they must be certified. Lastly, in order to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies in a variety of fields including law, medicine and business, veterans must take a national test like the SAT, LSAT, MCAT or GMAT.