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Ernst’s Bipartisan Bill to Assist Veterans Signed into Law

RED OAK, Iowa—One of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) bipartisan bills aimed at assisting veterans in Iowa and across the country, was signed into law yesterday by President Trump. The Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need (HAVEN) Act would protect the economic security and well-being of veterans and their families who rely on disability benefits and may be experiencing financial hardship.

“As a combat veteran myself, I understand the challenges our servicemembers can face and the responsibility we have to ensure they get the support they are promised. Due to the stress and trauma associated with their time in uniform, many veterans experience hardship when they return home. By working with Democrats and Republicans, we’re prioritizing the needs of our veterans to ensure they get the resources and care they deserve. I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues, and the president, in getting this important bill across the finish line,” said Senator Joni Ernst, the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate.

 Senator Ernst introduced the Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need (HAVEN) Act with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and John Cornyn (R-TX). Under current bankruptcy law, disability benefits paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) are included in the calculation of a debtor’s monthly disposable income, increasing the portion of the debtor’s income that is subject to the reach of creditors. By contrast, bankruptcy law explicitly exempts Social Security disability benefits from this calculation. To remove this unequal treatment among various disability benefits, the HAVEN Act would exclude VA and DoD disability payments made to veterans or their dependent survivors from the monthly income calculation used for bankruptcy means tests.

The HAVEN Act is supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, Society of Military Widows, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans for Common Sense, U.S Army Warrant Officers Association, the Retired Enlisted Association, the Association of the United States Army, the Association of the United States Navy, and the American College of Bankruptcy.