U.S. Senator Tina Smith Pushes for Service Members to Receive Owed Student Loan Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/16/2019]—United States Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) is pushing to get servicemembers the student loan payments they have been incorrectly denied under existing law.

In a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Sen. Smith expressed her support for a proposed “matching agreement” with the Department of Education which would enable servicemembers to automatically get the refunds they are owed. The letter was led by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“The new matching agreement should allow all eligible servicemembers and veterans-including those who were formerly eligible-to automatically receive refunds for any interest amounts that they paid to the federal government, but never owed,” wrote the senators.” Student loan indebtedness can adversely impact the readiness of our military personnel, which is why your work to establish this matching agreement is critical.”  

This letter continues Sen. Smith’s fight to protect the economic security of our servicemembers. Earlier this year, she pushed for bipartisan reform to bankruptcy law to protect veterans experiencing financial hardship. She also has led a bipartisan effort to deliver compensation for veterans who cleaned up nuclear testing sites in the Marshall Islands during the late 1970’s. 

In addition to Sens. Smith, Murray, and Warren, the letter was also signed by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

You can read a full copy of the letter here.