Menendez introduces legislation to expand education opportunities for U.S. veterans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced legislation to ensure U.S. veterans can access education benefits they have earned.
The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to update its technology to pay GI Bill benefits for veterans taking approved coursework while attending educational institutions — such as universities — abroad that lack an Employee Identification Number (EIN) or a U.S. bank account.
The bill responds to reports that VA wasn’t honoring benefits to veterans studying abroad over technological issues.
“Veterans earned their GI Bill benefits and depend on them to continue their education,” Menendez said. “As lawmakers, it’s our duty to empower and prepare veterans to successfully return from serving our nation and develop the skills they need to rejoin the civilian workforce. The VA’s technology shouldn’t prevent veterans from receiving these critical benefits which is why I hope colleagues from both sides of the aisle will join me in passing this commonsense legislation.”
The GI Bill Foreign Institution Electronic Payments Act bill would require the VA to update its current payment system such that an EIN or Tax ID number are no longer required for the agency to issue payment for its approved study programs. This technical fix will unlock educational opportunities for veterans.
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.-11) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives last Congress. The bill passed the House in May of 2022 with wide bipartisan support.