Alexander Hernandez and his wife Melissa Mizio are both military veterans who are homeschooling their son, who recently turned 18.

During their service to the United States, both of them suffered injuries and now receive disability benefits from the federal government. To assist in raising children, those veterans’ benefits are increased as long as they have a child in their care.

Unfortunately, in their latest interaction with the Department of Veterans Affairs, officials demanded that the husband prove that they are homeschooling by providing evidence that is impossible to obtain in the state where they live.

A Matter of Policy

The definition of “child” in federal veterans regulations includes children who are 18 or older, as long as they are still enrolled in school. For years, the VA refused to acknowledge homeschool students as eligible for additional benefits, but when HSLDA sued the VA in the early 2000s, we won the case and got the law changed.

The VA adopted a new policy explicitly stating that homeschooled students are eligible for benefits.

Even though the law has changed, HSLDA has had to fight on behalf of numerous military veterans. Local offices often don’t know what the homeschool law of their state is, and they ask for way more information than they are actually entitled to.

Unequal Treatment

When the couple’s son recently turned 18, Melissa submitted her paperwork to the VA proving that their homeschool program was in compliance with Missouri state law, and she quickly received a letter stating that her son was recognized as a student.

But when Alexander submitted the exact same forms, the VA demanded more information, including a request for documentation verifying the homeschool was either approved or registered with the state.

However, Missouri state law does not require homeschools to be approved or registered. Which means the VA is requesting something which simply can’t be obtained.

HSLDA has submitted an appeal on Alexander’s behalf, and we believe the law is firmly on his side. We will keep you updated on this situation.