Some public benefits, not administered by the VISTA program, are of particular interest to VISTA members as their service may impact their eligibility to receive them.
Protection of Public Assistance Benefits While Serving in AmeriCorps VISTA
VISTA members who are eligible to receive assistance or services (i.e., benefits) under any governmental program (e.g., Temporary Aid to Needy Families [TANF], Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income) prior to enrollment as a member or who are receiving such assistance or services during VISTA service shall not be denied such benefits or given a decreased benefit because of the member's failure or refusal to register for, seek, or accept employment or training during the period of service. This protection of benefits, provided at 42 U.S.C. § 5044, applies to any governmental program, including federal, state, and local programs.
VISTA members may use the service letters provided via their My AmeriCorps account related to public benefits. (See Service Letters for more information.)
For more information, see the VISTA Member Handbook – Basic Laws & Federal Regulations.
College Cost Reduction and Access Act
This federal regulation includes two programs that can significantly reduce, or even eliminate student debt, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-Based Loan Repayment.
For more information, see Benefits of Service – Reduction of Education Costs and the College Cost Reduction & Access Act FAQ sheet for AmeriCorps.