At issue is a measure passed without objection in the House earlier this year which would cut in half the housing stipend for dependents of veterans attending school on GI Bill benefits. The move would save the government about $773 million over the next 10 years and help pay for a host of other veterans initiatives.
The education benefit cuts may be even more difficult to navigate. The bill generates about $3.4 billion in revenue by reducing the growth in student veterans’ housing allowance in coming years.
The move brings the veterans benefit in line with Defense Department housing stipends, a move lawmakers initially planned last year but deferred until now. Students would not see a reduction in their housing payouts but would see their rate of growth shrink, until the stipend covers 95 percent of the average area housing cost.
Critics call that a cut to veterans education benefits, since the end result is students’ housing payouts not fully keeping up with inflation. Student Veterans of America estimates the reductions will amount to an average loss of more than $800 when fully implemented in coming years.