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Education Benefits Programs

Soldier with books in hand
The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the following benefit programs.   For additional assistance, please contact Veterans Affairs toll free at  1.888.GI-BILL-1 (1.888.442.4551) to speak with a Veterans Benefits Counselor.
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    The Post - 9/11 G.I. Bill Chapter 33

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting and processing applications for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.  You should complete and submit the application online and will receive a letter explaining the VA’s decision regarding your eligibility for the program.

    The application requires that individuals currently eligible for benefits under the Montgomery G.I. BILL – Active Duty (MGIB-AD), Montgomery G.I. Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) make an irrevocable election from their existing program to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

    Please visit www.va.gov to complete the Veteran's Online Application.

    The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is for individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will become effective for training on or after August 1, 2009. This program will pay eligible individuals:

    • Tuition & fees directly to the school not to exceed the maximum in-state tuition & fees at a public Institution of Higher Learning.
    • A monthly housing allowance based on the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the school. This non-VA website will help you to determine the BAH for your school's ZIP code..
    • An annual books & supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment eligibility.

    If you are enrolled exclusively online you will receive 50% of the National BAH rate.  If you are on active duty you will not receive the housing allowance or books & supplies stipend.

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    Montgomery G.I. Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) Chapter 30

    The MGIB program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses.  Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following your release from active duty. This program is also commonly known as Chapter 30.

    See Payment Rates for current rates of payment.

    $600 Buy-up Program

    Some service members may contribute up to an additional $600 to the G.I. Bill to receive increased monthly benefits.  For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5400 in additional G.I. Bill benefits.  The additional contribution must be made while on active duty.  For more information contact your personnel or payroll office.  For a listing of the increased monthly rates click HERE.

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    Montgomery G.I. Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) Chapter 1606

    The MGIB-SR program may be available to you if you are a member of the Selected Reserve. The Selected Reserve includes the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

    See Payment Rates for current rates of payment.

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    Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) Chapter 1607

    REAP was established as a part of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. It is a new Department of Defense education benefit program designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation) as declared by the President or Congress.  This new program makes certain reservists who were activated for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001 either eligible for education benefits or eligible for increased benefits.

    $600 Buy-up Program

    Some reservists may contribute up to an additional $600 to the G.I. Bill to receive increased monthly benefits.  For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5400 in additional G.I. Bill benefits.  You must be a member of a Ready Reserve component (Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, or Inactive National Guard) to pay into the “buy-up” program.  For more information contact your personnel or payroll office.  To find a listing of the increased monthly rates, visit Military.com.

    See Payment Rates for current rates of payment.

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    Survivors And Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA) Chapter 35

    The DEA program provides up to 45 months of educational  benefits  to eligible dependents of certain veterans.  These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training.  If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course.  Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

    You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:

    • A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces.
    • A veteran who died from any cause while such service-connected disability was in existence.
    • A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
    • A service member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
    • A service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.

    If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit.  If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions.  The V.A. can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday but there are some exceptions.

    If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date V.A. finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran.  If the V.A. rated the veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective October 10, 2008 and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.

    For surviving spouses (spouses of service members who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

    Before you apply you should make sure that your selected program is approved for V.A. training. If you are not clear on this point, V.A. will inform you and the school or company about the requirements.

    Obtain and complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance. Send it to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State where you will train. If you are a son or daughter, under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.

    If you have started training, take your application to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, and send both forms to V.A.

    Section 301 of Public Law 109-461 added a new category to the definition of “eligible person” for DEA benefits .  The new category includes the spouse or child of a person who:

    • V.A. determines has a service-connected permanent and total disability; and
    • at the time of V.A.'s determination is a member of the Armed Forces who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment; and
    • is likely to be discharged or released from service for this service-connected disability.

    Persons eligible under this new provision may be eligible for DEA benefits effective December 23, 2006, the effective date of the law.

    For more information contact your local V.A. office.

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    Vocational Rehabilitation - Chapter 31

    Vocational Rehabilitation is a program whose primary function is to help veterans with service-connected disabilities become suitably employed, maintain employment, or achieve independence in daily living.  The program offers a number of services to help each eligible disabled veteran reach his or her rehabilitation goal.  These services include vocational and personal counseling, education and training, financial aid, job assistance, and, if needed, medical and dental treatment.  Services generally last up to 48 months, but they can be extended in certain instances.

    Usually, you must first be awarded a monthly VA disability compensation payment.  In some cases, you may be eligible if you aren't getting VA compensation.  For example, if you are awaiting discharge from the service because of a disability you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation.  Eligibility is also based on you meeting the following conditions:

    •   You served on or after September 16, 1940  AND
    •   Your service-connected disabilities (SCD) are rated at least 20% disabling by VA  AND
    •   You need Vocational Rehabilitation to overcome an employment handicap  AND
    •   It has been less than 12 years since VA notified you of your qualified SCD

    If you need training, VA will pay your training costs, such as tuition and fees, books, supplies, equipment, and, if needed, special services.  While you are in training, VA will also pay you a monthly benefit to help with living expenses, called a subsistence allowance.  For details go to http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/vrs.htm.  Apply online at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp or by filling out VA Form 28-1900, Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation, and mail it to the VA regional office (St. Louis).   Or call 800.827.1000 for more information.

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