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Congress misses work-study reauthorization deadline

July 8, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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A key provision of the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010 expired on June 30, leaving some part-time workers at veterans’ homes out of a job. 

One of the provisions of the Veterans Benefits Act was to extend and expand qualifying work-study programs, such as providing care to veterans at state-run homes. In the past fiscal year 10,000 veterans participated in the program across the country. In addition to a small salary, the students also receive college credit. The program is awaiting reauthorization as of its June 30 expiration.

To qualify for the program, students must be veterans or children of a veteran with a service-related disability or death. Because of the congressional delay, some students already have lost their facility jobs and don’t know what to do. Not only are they students, but many have families to support.

A Chula Vista, Calif., veterans’ home has already released 65 students. An article on the U-T San Diego website illustrates the uncertainty these students feel as the reauthorization languishes in Congress. “We have never been at this point where absolutely nothing has been done with the exception of the language being introduced,“ remarked Dorothy Diaz, the work-study supervisor at the Chula Vista facility.

There may be no quick resolution to the reauthorization. It took Congress six months to reauthorize the work-study budget after its last expiration date, according to Diaz.