Congress passes bill to protect G.I. Bill benefits for veterans

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A bill was passed by the U.S. Congress Thursday to protect thousands of dollars of monthly G.I. Bill benefits for veterans and their families earning a college degree. 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges and universities in the area to cancel most, if not all, in-person classes and have students take online courses. Steven Garcia, who was a corporal in the Marine Corps for four years and now studies accounting at Pace University in Pleasantville, says while veterans or their family members are earning a degree, they receive a monthly housing allowance from the G.I. Bill.

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However, that financial assistance was dependent on the student spending a number of hours in the classroom. With classes now remote, those benefits could have been taken away.

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"That would significantly cut our monthly housing allowance and that's basically what we pay for our mortgages…car bills, anything we have to pay to take care of our family,” says Garcia. “Slashing the benefits in half just wouldn't cut it and the veterans would be basically looking for money in this time."

According to Pace University's director of veterans services, a veteran in the area could receive up $2,000 a month.

The president is expected to sign the bill into law soon. 

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