Rep. Cisneros Introduces Legislation to Expand GI Bill Benefits for Student Veterans

April 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) introduced the Break Relief for Every Academic Kind of Period in an Academic Year for Veterans Act or the BREAK PAY for Veterans Act. This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a housing allowance to individuals between school terms, which will ensure GI Bill beneficiaries continue to receive financial assistance during breaks up to eight weeks in length.

“Let’s do right by our college and university students, we can start by ensuring all student service members have financial support between their Fall and Spring semesters,” said Rep. Cisneros. “These students often struggle financially during their scheduled breaks in school. This legislation is a commonsense fix that will ensure our student service members are able to pay for rent, groceries, and medication. We make a promise to serve the men and women who commit to serving our country, and I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on ways to ensure our nation’s heroes receive the support and services they deserve.”

“We have worked very hard at my college to attract and support veterans. I think we have one of the best on campus veterans’ programs in the country,” said Manuel Baca, Ph.D., Trustee at Mt. San Antonio College and Marine Corps Veteran. “But we also have a six-week break between the Fall and Spring semester and it becomes pretty hard for us to support our veterans when their housing money gets cut for a month and a half every year. That’s not the way the GI Bill was meant to work and I’m very glad to see Congressman Cisneros is working to address this unintended hardship.”

“GI Bill benefits are great, but the breaks in pay aren’t,” said Jacob Wolak, Lead Veteran Resource Advisor at Cal Poly Pomona and Marine Corps Veteran. “I’m glad this bill will seek to end those pay breaks. I did internships during my winter breaks, but they were all unpaid and I ate into my savings because I still had to pay rent for those months. This is a commonsense bill that will allow student veterans to have a fair, rational benefit that they can build their budgets around.”

Rep. Cisneros is a 10-year Navy veteran and former Lt. Commander and supply and logistics officer and is a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. The BREAK PAY for Veterans Act is supported by the Student Veterans of America (SVA).