National Guard & Reserve Education Benefits

Guard and Reserve

Veteran Education Benefits for the National Guard and Reserve

There are two basic ways to serve in uniform; commit to a full-time, active duty service commitment or choose part-time service as a member of the National Guard or Reserve.

Those who choose the Guard or Reserve learn their military benefits–especially education benefits–aren’t as generous as the benefits offered to those who serve full-time. In spite of this, education benefits offered to the Guard and Reserve are valuable and worth pursuing.

Knowing how and when you may qualify for these benefits is an important part of the planning stages of higher education. This guide explains who qualifies and much more.

It is important to point out that for most VA education benefits, those with military discharges characterized as Dishonorable, Other Than Honorable, or Bad Conduct are not eligible for GI Bill benefits unless they have their discharges upgraded by a Military Discharge Review Board. You can learn about the military discharge review/upgrade process at the VA official site.

Editor’s Note: Members of the National Guard and the Reserve are sometimes referred to as serving as a member of a “reserve component”, and when you see that phrase in VA benefits literature or state veteran benefits program official sites, it means members of both the Guard and Reserve.

Post-9/11 GI Bill for Members of the Guard and Reserve

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the program offered to all new recruits entering full-time military service. It’s also an option for members of the Guard and Reserve who have performed enough full-time duty to qualify. 

What kind of full-time duty? The Department of Veterans Affairs official site describes two different types of active duty service for members of the Guard/Reserve:

  • Active duty (Title 10) – full-time duty, such as a unit deployment during war, This includes time taken to travel to and from such duty;
  • Full-time National Guard duty (Title 32) – full-time duty, such as responding to a national emergency or duties as an Active Guard Reserve member.

Qualifying for the Post-9/11 GI Bill as a Member of the Guard/Reserve

Members of the Guard and Reserve may qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill if they meet the VA’s criteria, which includes full-time service under one of the two options listed above, as well as the following:

  • Honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability after serving at least 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001, OR;
  • Having at least 90 days of active service consisting of:
    • Active duty (Title 10 full-time Guard duty) supporting what the VA calls “named contingency operations,” OR;
    • Full-time National Guard duty (Title 32) for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training, OR;
    • Full-time National Guard duty (Title 32) when authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense during a national emergency.

Members of the Guard and Reserve who qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill may apply online using  VA Form 22-1990 or its electronic equivalent. When prospective students complete this form, it will be necessary to have the following documentation ready at application time:

  • Social Security number
  • Direct deposit information
  • Education history
  • Military service history
  • Basic information about the school you want to attend

Learn more: How to Get Your Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs typically needs 30 days to process an application; it is best to start as early as possible in case there are delays, paperwork issues, etc.

Students are required to regularly verify enrollment with the VA by text message or by calling the Education Call Center at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

Transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

This is not something handled by a school, but it is a question likely to be asked along the way. Transferring benefits is done via the Department of Defense and not the VA.

Demographically speaking, these types of questions are more likely to come from new or prospective members of the National Guard or Reserve who aren’t fully informed about their benefits yet. Some may be exploring Guard/Reserve options at the same time as college.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill program does allow the transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to spouses and school-age “dependent” children (the VA’s terminology, not ours), but this must be applied for while the servicemember is still on active duty. A prospective student who wants to transfer entitlement but is no longer on active duty may not be allowed to do so.

Applying for a transfer means applying for something called a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) using VA Form 22-1990E. You can apply online, or the student can apply by mail or via a VA regional office.

Once a service member prepares to leave active duty, they can provide a “future effective date” for when the TOE can be used and manage the number of months transferred to the spouse or dependent.

Read more: How to Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to a Spouse or Dependent

Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

The Montgomery GI Bill is an education benefit that was offered to all new recruits but has since been replaced by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, some in the Guard or Reserve may still qualify to use the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) if they choose to do so.

Who qualifies for the MGIB-SR?

Members of the following:

  • Army Reserve
  • Navy Reserve
  • Air Force Reserve
  • Marine Corps Reserve
  • Coast Guard Reserve
  • Army National Guard
  • Air National Guard

Qualifying for the Montgomery GI Bill as a Member of the Guard/Reserve

You may qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill as a member of the Guard/Reserve if at least one of the following is true:

  • You have a 6-year service obligation in the Selected Service OR;
  • You are an officer in the Selected Reserve serving 6 years in addition to your initial service AND;
  • You meet what the VA calls “ other requirements,” which may include finishing initial active duty for training (IADT), and being in good standing in a Selected Reserve Unit.
  • Your obligation must have started after June 30, 1985, or for some types of training after September 30, 1990.
  • You have a 6-year service obligation (you agreed to serve 6 years) in the Selected Reserve, OR;
  • You’re an officer in the Selected Reserve, and you agreed to serve 6 years in addition to your first obligation.

Your military service must have started after June 30, 1985, or for some types of training after September 30, 1990.

All of these must also apply in addition to at least one of the above:

  • You complete your initial active duty for training (IADT), and
  • You get a high school diploma or certificate, such as a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED, before finishing IADT (You cannot use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement), and
  • You stay in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit

Qualifying for Military Tuition Assistance as a Member of the Guard/Reserve

In addition to the GI Bill, you may also qualify for Military Tuition Assistance from the Guard/Reserve, though not all branches of service offer the benefit to reserve component members.

To apply for the Montgomery GI Bill, students must first determine if the program they choose accepts it. If so, you can apply online using VA Form 22-1990.

When helping prospective students complete this form, it will be necessary for the student to have the following documentation ready for the application:

  • Social Security number
  • Bank account direct deposit information
  • Education history
  • Military service history
  • Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend or are attending now, where applicable.

Students who use Montgomery GI Bill funds to pay for school are required to verify their enrollment with the VA on a regular basis. You can verify your enrollment using the VA Web Automated Verification system or by phone at 877-823-2378.

Read More: GI Bill Facts and Fiction

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

Members of the Guard or Reserve who have not served on active duty don’t have access to this option. However, those who join the Guard or Reserve as “prior service” members who were formerly on active duty often do.

Troops qualify for the MGIB-AD program by opting into it when in boot camp or at their first duty station. Those who choose this program have their pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months, with the federal government providing a much larger contribution.

Multiple categories qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill.

Category I

    • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
    • Entered active duty after June 30, 1985, and;
    • The applicant chose to contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months of service toward the Montgomery GI Bill program.
    • Applicant must have served continuously for 24-36 months, depending on the agreement or;
    • Served four years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty

Category II

    • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and;
    • Started active duty before January 1, 1977 (or before January 2, 1978, under a delayed enlistment program contracted before January 1, 1977), and;
    • The applicant served between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or through June 30, 1987, if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years), and;
    • The applicant had one day or more of GI Bill entitlement left under the Vietnam Era GI Bill (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989

Category III

    • High school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and;
    • The applicant does not qualify for MGIB under categories I or II, and;
    • Contributed to the Montgomery GI Bill ($1,200) before retirement or separation.
    • The applicant must have served on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated after February 2, 1991, or;
    • Involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993, or;
    • Voluntarily separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive program or;
    • Voluntarily separated under the Special Separation Benefit program.

Category IV

    • High school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and;
    • The applicant made a $1,200 contribution toward the GI Bill.
    • Applicant served on active duty on October 9, 1996, had money left in a VEAP account on that date, and chose MGIB before October 9, 1997, or;
    • Started full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989, and chose MGIB between October 9, 1996, and July 9, 1997.

Prospective students eligible to apply for Montgomery GI Bill benefits may apply online with the Department of Veterans Affairs using VA Form 22-1990.

There is something known as an MGIB-AD buy-up program where the service member opts into an additional $600 in personal contributions to the program. Doing so qualifies the student for more GI Bill money–an additional $5600 in additional GI Bill benefits. The $600 buy-up option is not offered with the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Furthermore, the Montgomery GI Bill does not feature an option to transfer the benefit to a dependent spouse or school-age child. The Post-9/11 GI Bill features many more options than the Montgomery version, including a monthly housing stipend and the ability to transfer the benefit in exchange for a longer military service commitment.

Guard and Reserve Tuition Assistance (TA)

Similar to active-duty tuition assistance programs, the Guard and Reserve also have TA options that can help pay for college. These options vary greatly depending on the branch of military service and other factors. Get service-specific information for Guard and Reserve Tuition Assistance Programs.

State-Funded Programs for Members of the Guard/Reserve

State-level Departments of Veterans Affairs or Divisions of Veterans Affairs may include state-administered veteran education benefits programs.

These programs may be offered to veterans currently serving service members, spouses, and dependents. However, these state programs are not standardized, do not offer identical options from state to state, and may restrict certain benefits to those with VA-rated service-connected medical issues.

Budgetary constraints may limit these state programs, may lose or regain funding, or may be modified by state laws or program guideline changes. Learn more about a specific state’s options in our guide to military education benefits by state.

You can also find your state’s Division or Department of Veterans Affairs using a map-based locator provided on the National Association of State Directors Of Veterans Affairs official site.

A Word on the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

REAP was a VA education program offering up to 36 months of education benefits for qualifying members of the Selected Reserves, Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), and National Guard called or ordered to active service in response to a war or national Emergency.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 ended the VA REAP program in 2015. Why do we include it here? Because some remained eligible for REAP benefits until November 25, 2019, while others are no longer eligible for REAP benefits.

As the VA official site points out, there is no “window of opportunity” to use REAP benefits, and eligibility typically ends when you leave the Selected Reserve.

Some veterans may be able to use REAP up to 10 years after the date of their entitlement, which is why information on this program persists online–it is possible some members of the Guard or Reserve may have remaining entitlement under REAP.

If that applies to you, it’s best to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to get advice and help to apply for such remaining entitlement–while the VA may not approve new REAP payments, you may qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Contact the VA directly at 1-800-827-1000 to get help with REAP-related issues.

In the eyes of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill “…in many ways has replaced REAP because it also provides educational assistance benefits for Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty on or after September 11, 2001, and in many cases provides a greater benefit than REAP.”

 

 

 

Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide for Active Duty & Veterans

Active Duty & Veterans’ Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is one of the most important military benefits you can earn. This guide includes step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the application form and submit it to claim your Post 9.11 GI Bill benefits. This is not a guide to teach you how to become eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, though one of the earliest steps you’ll take is confirming your eligibility.

The form used here may also be used to apply for Montgomery GI Bil benefits and other options–this guide is not for those programs as the Post 9/11 GI Bill has unique features and requirements–instructions on how to apply for the other benefits are not part of the scope of this guide.

Read More: How to Get Your Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits (This article addresses specific eligibility issues.)

About This Guide

This guide advises you on how to apply for and claim your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for the FIRST TIME. It is not a guide on how to change or transfer your benefits.

This guide is for Post 9/11 GI Bill applications only and not for GI Bill applications being applied for under VA Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) or the National Call-To-Service program.

Read More: VA Benefits Under VET TEC and VA Benefits Under The National Call-To-Service program.

What to Know About Post 9/11 GI Bill Entitlement

This guide is not meant to help you determine whether you are eligible for the GI Bill. Learn more about GI Bill eligibility based on the era of service you joined in if you are not sure whether you qualify.

Not all veterans serve enough time in uniform to earn 100% GI Bill payment rates. Depending on how much of the minimum time in service requirement you meet, you may be eligible for a partial GI Bill benefit instead.

  • Between 30 months and 36 months: 90% of the full benefit.
  • Between 24 months and 30 months: 80% of the full benefit.
  • Between 18 months and 24 months: 70% of the full benefit.
  • Between 6 months and 18 months: 60% of the full benefit.
  • Between 90 days and 6 months: 50% of the full benefit.

Read More: GI Bill Entitlement Percentages Explained

If Your School Closes

You may qualify for restoration of VA education benefits in cases where a school is closing or is no longer eligible for VA programs. This restoration is not automatic, restrictions may apply, and you must certify the number of any transfer credits you are allowed to use in a new program.

Read more: When Your School Closes: The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act

Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide: Getting Started

The first thing you must do in order to begin the application process for the Post 9/11 GI Bill is to determine your eligibility for the program. You can do this via the Department of Veterans Affairs official site under the heading How Do I Apply?

You’ll want to do this as your preliminary step. When you go to the link above, you will navigate to How Do I Apply and answer the following questions:

  • Are you applying for a benefit or updating your program or place of training?

Answer “Applying for a new benefit”.

  • Are you a Veteran or service member claiming a benefit based on your own service?

Answer Yes.

Note;  If you are NOT a veteran or service member claiming your own benefit based on your own service, this PDF guide is NOT for you. Please see our other Step-By-Step Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Application Guide for Spouses and Dependents for instructions.

  • Are you claiming a National Call to Service education benefit?

Answer No if applicable.

  • Are you applying for Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)?

Answer No if applicable. If you are applying for VET TEC see our Veteran Employment Through Technology (VET TEC) article for more information.

Answer Yes. If you are NOT applying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, please review our article on the Montgomery GI Bill.

  • The final step is to click the Apply Now button once you have completed these questions.

After you click APPLY NOW, you will be taken to another screen where you are prompted to log in before starting to fill out the form. If you do NOT log in, filling out the form is practically useless since you CANNOT SAVE it unless you log in. Filling the form out without logging in and trying to log in afterward to save the form may not work.

When you log in before applying, the VA may be able to auto-fill some of your application based on your VA account information that may already be in the system. The VA says by signing in to your VA.gov account, you may be able to get an “instant decision” on your benefits claim application, depending on circumstances.

Once you log into VA.gov and begin filling out your application, you can save it in progress for up to 60 days. Once you begin a GI Bill application form, you have 60 days to complete it or it may be deleted.

Gather Documents and Information for Your GI Bill Application

What do you need to provide besides the filled-out VA claim form (see below) when you initiate this process? There is a list of items you’ll need to gather before you start working on your claim. They include:

  • Social Security number.
  • Bank account direct deposit information, including routing number and account number.
  • Education and military history.
  • Basic information about the school or training facility you need the benefits for (see below).

School Selection Issues

The last bullet point in the list above asks you to gather basic information about the school you want to attend. This is a very important step in the process for two reasons. One is that not all schools participate in the GI Bill program.

The school may be in the process of being approved by the VA, or the VA may have rejected it. In either case, if a school does not accept the GI Bill, you would need to find a similar school that does.

Some may choose to focus on a particular school but try other veteran education benefits to attend. If you are considering this as an option, one thing you should do is try to learn the circumstances for which the school is not accepting the GI Bill. If the school has been found to be problematic by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you will want to know the reasons why.

This guide does NOT address such alternative funding options. This is a guide for those who have found a school that does accept the GI Bill.

Learn more about your alternative school funding options. You can also explore options in states that offer free college to veterans.

Starting Your GI Bill Application

You can apply for the GI Bill online, by mail, or in person.  You can also get the assistance of a Veteran Service Organization. You will be required to submit a VA form plus other supporting documentation as described above. Additional forms may be required depending on the school and the nature of your studies.

How To Apply For The GI Bill In Person

You can apply with help from your school’s VA Certifying Official. The official will help you or direct you to someone who can help you complete the GI Bill form described here, and you will get good advice on how the process works at that financial institution.

You can also apply in person at a VA Regional office near you. If you want to apply in person, be sure to contact the regional office in advance to make an appointment or walk in, depending on the availability of representatives in your area.

How To Apply For GI Bill Benefits By Mail

You can call the Department of Veterans Affairs directly at 888-442-4551 during business hours Monday through Friday to request a paper application be sent to you. Complete the paperwork and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office in the same location as your school. To do this, you can use the Step-By-Step Guide to filling out the GI Bill application form below.

How to apply for GI Bill benefits using a Veteran Service Officer.

The VA asks applicants to use the VA eBenefits portal to let the VA know they’ll use a VSO to assist with their application. You can also use eBenefits to find a local VSO representative.

You can also use a search tool offered by the VA Office of the General Counsel to find VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited people. You will also need to take steps, including the completion of VA Form 21-22, Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as the Claimant’s Representative.

No matter how you wind up submitting your application, you will be required to fill out or get help filling out VA Form 22-1990, Application for VA Benefits. What follows in this section is step-by-step instructions for completing the form.

VA Form 22-1990 Application for VA Benefits Step-By-Step Guide

Start by downloading VA Form 22-1990 from the VA official site. The form itself is four pages long, but there are instructions and information provided in the larger overall document.

The completion time for this form is estimated at 15 minutes (by the federal government). Still, it is best to give yourself far more time to complete and submit this document, as it asks numerous questions, including your military service information (dates, branch of service, nature of service, etc.)

VA Form 22-1990 Step-By-Step Instructions: Page One of Four

Part I – Applicant Information

  1. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF APPLICANT

Fill in the blanks with your Social Security Number. Providing the number may be labeled as “voluntary,” but without the Social Security Number, you may not be able to apply for this benefit.

  1. SEX OF APPLICANT

For GI Bill purposes, it will be necessary to use the gender currently reflected on your state government ID, military ID card, or other identification.

If you are in the process of changing your IDs to reflect your personal pronouns, know that all official communication with the VA will require the “official” gender as in your current government records. If you need assistance in this area, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000.

  1. APPLICANT’S DATE OF BIRTH

Enter in your full date of birth in the boxes provided.

  1. NAME (First, Middle Initial, Last)

As with the gender portion of this GI Bill application, you will need to enter your name as it is currently shown on your government IDs. This is unfortunate for some, but at press time the application process has not evolved to accept variations in these identification fields.

  1. APPLICANT’S ADDRESS

Provide your full physical address. Providing a temporary address or a P.O. Box may delay your receipt of important communication from the VA.

      6A. APPLICANT’S TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Include both home and mobile numbers where applicable and always include the area code.

      6B. APPLICANT’S E-MAIL ADDRESS

This is NOT an optional field. Your email address is required to complete this form.

  1. DIRECT DEPOSIT

This section asks you to provide your bank routing number and account number. Signing up for Direct Deposit is typically required for GI Bill benefits.

  1. PLEASE PROVIDE THE NAME, ADDRESS, AND PHONE NUMBER OF SOMEONE WHO WILL ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOU CAN BE REACHED

This section asks you for an emergency contact person the VA can get in touch with if there is an issue reaching you about your benefits.

Page One Part II–Education Benefits Being Applied For

The application form you are filling out can be used for multiple benefits. This guide is specifically for applying for the GI Bill benefit using this form. Check Box 9A, Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.

After checking this box, complete Item 9E, if you are receiving or if you are eligible for benefits under Chapter 30 or Chapter 1606. Box 9E states:

“By electing Chapter 33 in Item 9A, I acknowledge that I understand the following:

  • I may not receive more than a total of 48 months of benefit entitlement under two or more of the education programs listed on this application.
  • If electing Chapter 33, in lieu of Chapter 30, my months of entitlement under Chapter 33 will be limited to the number of months of entitlement remaining under Chapter 30 on the effective date of my election.
  • I will not receive a Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty-Chapter 30 or Selected Reserve-Chapter 1606) “Kicker” under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, unless
  • I was eligible for the kicker at the time I applied and I relinquished that benefit for the Post-9/11 GI Bill-Chapter 33.
  • When choosing the effective date below, I understand that benefits for training under Chapter 33 are not payable prior to that date.

If you use Box 9E you must complete the following on the form:

“ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

I elect to receive Chapter 33 education benefits effective in lieu of the education benefit checked below. By checking the box below, I am acknowledging that I understand that this election is irrevocable and may not be changed and that failure to check one of the boxes below may cause a delay in the processing of this claim. (The form at this stage advises you to check ONE box for the benefit you plan to give up. Check either:

  • Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill
  • Chapter 1606 Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve

That is the end of Page One of this application.

What to Know About Page One

You can only use one period of military service to qualify for one VA education benefit. The Department of Veterans Affairs advises, “…once a period of service has been applied toward a specific benefit, that period of service may not be used again toward a different benefit.”

That said, there is one exception for those who apply for Chapter 33 benefits. The VA official site states, “…a period of service beginning before August 1, 2011, can be used to establish eligibility to Chapter 33 even if it has already been used to establish eligibility to a different benefit.”

All GI Bill payments are made via Direct Deposit. To use the GI Bill, you must sign up for Direct Deposit or contact the U.S. Treasury Department to discuss their waiver policy at 1-888-224-2950.

VA Form 22-1990 Step-By-Step Instructions: Page Two of Four

Part III – Type And Program Of Education Or Training

The top of the second page on the upper right has a section for entering your Social Security Number. This is at the top of each page in the four-page application. Be sure to enter your SSN on each page.

10A. TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING

In this section, check the one box that best applies to your needs:

    • College or Other School (Including On-Line Courses)
    • Vocational Flight Training
    • National Test Reimbursement (Sat, CLEP, Etc.)
    • Apprenticeship or On-the-Job Training
    • Licensing or Certification Test Reimbursement
    • Correspondence
    • Tuition Assistance Top-Up (Chapters 30 & 33 Only)

10B. PROVIDE THE FULL NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE SCHOOL IF KNOWN

You may skip this question if you are only applying for National Test Reimbursement, Licensing and Certification Test Reimbursement, or Tuition Assistance Top-Up.

      10C. PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR EDUCATIONAL OR CAREER OBJECTIVE, IF KNOWN

This is where you would specify your specific degree program goals, training, certification, etc. Be as specific as possible, including the name of the degree or certificate.

Page Two, Part IV – Service Information

This section requires details about your military service. For some, this is a single entry, but for others who may have started as active duty but switched to the Guard or Reserve or who left military service only to return, this part of the form may be more complex. The Department of Veterans Affairs advises that the form may be processed faster if the following documentation is attached where applicable:

  • DD Form 214 (Member 4) for all periods of active duty service (excluding active duty for training)
  • DD Form 2384, Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE) if applying for Chapter 1606
  • Copies of orders if activated from the Guard/Reserves
  1. ARE YOU ON ACTIVE DUTY?

Do not check “Yes” if you are currently on drilling status in the Selected Reserve. Do not check “Yes” if you are on active duty for training. Otherwise this section is self-explanatory.

  1. ARE YOU NOW ON TERMINAL LEAVE JUST BEFORE DISCHARGE?

If you answer “Yes” you will need to provide copies of your DD Form 214 or equivalent.

  1. PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING FOR EACH PERIOD OF MILITARY SERVICE

This section requires the following information for each period of duty:

    • Date entered
    • Date separated
    • Branch of service and whether active, Guard, or Reserve
    • Service status (drilling, active, IRR,
    • Were you involuntarily recalled to duty for this time period?

What to Know About Page Two

In the area where you identify your periods of military service, the Department of Veterans Affairs assumes “you want us to apply every period of service that you have identified in Item 13 above to the single, specific benefit you are applying for in Part II (the benefit chosen between Items 9A thru 9D). “

But there if there are “specific periods of service that you do not want applied to the benefit selected in Part II (Items 9A thru 9D),” you are asked to identify those periods in the space below the periods of service.

VA Form 22-1990 Step-By-Step Instructions: Page Three of Four

The top of the third page on the upper right has a section for entering your Social Security Number. This is at the top of each page in the four-page application. Be sure to enter your SSN on each page.

Technically, the first part of Page Three begins at the tail end of Page Two. We proceed here as if all the fields to fill in are on the same page but your experience may vary.

Page Three Part V – Education and Employment Information

15A. DID YOU RECEIVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY CERTIFICATE?

Answer yes or no, but if the answer is Yes, you must provide the date.

      15B. DO YOU HOLD ANY FAA FLIGHT CERTIFICATES?

Answer Yes or No but if the answer is Yes, list each certificate in the Remarks section of the application form.

      15C. EDUCATION AFTER HIGH SCHOOL

You must include the dates, locations, name of the school, the degree program, the number of hours, and how they are classified (quarters, semesters, terms, etc.) as well as any degree earned. Include any apprenticeships, on-the-job training, etc.

      15D. EMPLOYMENT

The VA instructs this section should only be completed if you held a license or journeyman rating to practice a profession. In such cases, you will need to list employment before and after military service to include any license or rating, hours worked, and the principal occupations.

Page Three, Part VI – Entitlement To And Usage Of Additional Types Of Assistance

  1. DID YOU MAKE ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS (UP TO $600.00) TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF YOUR MONTHLY BENEFITS?

Answer Yes or No, but if the answer is yes, be sure to submit any evidence to back this claim as part of your application.

  1. DO YOU QUALIFY FOR A KICKER (sometimes called a “College Fund”) BASED ON YOUR MILITARY SERVICE?

A “kicker” is described as “additional amounts contributed by DOD to an education fund”. If you qualify for a kicker, you should submit copies of your “kicker contract”.

If you are submitting a kicker contract as a member of a Reserve component, the contracts must include the amount and effective date of the agreement. If you aren’t sure whether you have or qualify for a kicker, talk to a VA representative about your application before submitting.

  1. IF YOU GRADUATED FROM A MILITARY SERVICE ACADEMY, SPECIFY THE YEAR YOU GRADUATED AND RECEIVED YOUR COMMISSION.

No response is needed if this does not apply to you.

  1. WERE YOU COMMISSIONED AS THE RESULT OF A SENIOR ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) SCHOLARSHIP?

If you are an officer and you got a commission through a non-scholarship program, check “No.” If “Yes,” list the date of your commission plus the amount of your scholarship for each school year you were in the Senior ROTC program. You are also instructed NOT to report any subsistence allowance or stipend.

  1. ARE YOU CURRENTLY PARTICIPATING IN A SENIOR ROTC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM THAT PAYS FOR YOUR TUITION, FEES, BOOKS, AND SUPPLIES UNDER SECTION 2107 OF TITLE 10, U.S. CODE?

Answer Yes or No.

  1. IF YOU HAD A PERIOD OF ACTIVE DUTY THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COUNTS FOR PURPOSES OF REPAYING AN EDUCATION LOAN, CHECK “YES”.

Answer Yes or No in the boxes provided, but also be sure to list the dates of the active duty service that is being used “for the purposes of repaying these education loans” in the Remarks portion of Part IX.

  1. FOR ACTIVE DUTY CLAIMANTS ONLY: ARE YOU RECEIVING, OR DO YOU ANTICIPATE RECEIVING, ANY MONEY (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FEDERAL TUITION ASSISTANCE) FROM THE ARMED FORCES OR PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR THE COURSE FOR WHICH YOU HAVE APPLIED TO THE VA FOR EDUCATION BENEFITS?

If you get these benefits at any time during your training, check Yes.

  1. FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ONLY: ARE YOU RECEIVING, OR DO YOU ANTICIPATE RECEIVING, ANY MONEY (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT) FROM YOUR AGENCY FOR THE SAME PERIOD FOR WHICH YOU HAVE APPLIED TO THE VA FOR EDUCATION BENEFITS?

This question is not applicable for Active Duty but may be applicable to some veterans. In such  cases, if you will receive such benefits during any part of your training, check “yes.”

VA Form 22-1990 Step-By-Step Instructions: Page Four of Four

The top of the fourth page on the upper right has a section for entering your Social Security Number. This is at the top of each page in the four-page application. Be sure to enter your SSN on each page.

Page Four Part VII – Information on VA Education Benefits

This section begins with a blurb notifying you that the most current details on GI Bill benefits are available online. There is a check box you can use to indicate that you want to be sent a printed pamphlet describing your GI Bill benefits. Check the box if you wish to be sent this pamphlet.

Page Four Part VIII – Marital and Dependency Status

Do not complete this section UNLESS you have military service before January 1, 1977, or were part of a delayed entry program prior to  January 2, 1978.

  1. ARE YOU MARRIED?

Answer Yes or No.

  1. DO YOU HAVE ANY CHILDREN WHO ARE UNDER AGE 18, OR OVER 18 BUT UNDER AGE 23, NOT MARRIED AND ATTENDING SCHOOL, OR OF ANY AGE PERMANENTLY HELPLESS FOR MENTAL OR PHYSICAL REASONS?

Answer Yes or No

  1. DO YOU HAVE A PARENT WHO IS DEPENDENT UPON YOU FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Answer Yes or No.

Page Four Part IX – Remarks

This is the section where you will put any notes as required or requested from the earlier questions in the application form.

Page Four Part X – Certification And Signature Of Applicant

This is the signature block of the application form. It is legally binding. You are required to sign and date the form to certify that all statements in the application are true to the best of your knowledge. You are ALSO certifying that you have consulted with an Education Service Officer.

 

 

VA Form 22-5490 Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits Step-By-Step Guide

This is a step-by-step guide to filling out VA Form 22-5490, Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits. This is the form required for both dependents and spouses to apply for Chapter 35 Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) or the Chapter 33 Fry Scholarship.

Read More: Survivors and Dependents’ VA Education Benefits

Read More: The John D. Fry Scholarship for Surviving Children and Spouses

This is NOT a guide on how to apply for the GI Bill, VET TEC, or how to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent or spouse. For those instructions, please refer to our other guides:

How To Apply For The Post 9/11 GI Bill

How To Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Course (VET TEC)

Servicemembers are advised not to use this form to apply for education benefits “based on your own service” such as the GI Bill or Veterans Readiness and Employment benefits (Chapter 31). To apply for veteran education benefits based on your own service, use VA Form 22-1990 and to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits, use VA Form 28-1900.

About Terms Used In This Guide

The terms used in this guide are those used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Terms like “dependent” and “sponsor” are found on the VA forms. Know that in typical cases a “dependent” is someone who is not the servicemember, but who is a member of the service member’s immediate family. A “sponsor” is another term for the military member or veteran.

Getting Started

The first thing you should do is to download VA Form 22-5490. This form asks you to provide information about the military member’s service, about the type of education you seek, and you will need to provide financial data (see below). You will also need signatures from both the dependent or spouse plus the parent/guardian where applicable.

Gather Documents And Information For Your Application

What do you need to provide besides the VA form (see below) when you begin the application process? There is a list of items you’ll need to gather before you start on working your claim. They include:

  • Social Security number.
  • Bank account direct deposit information including routing number and account number.
  • Education and military history.
  • Basic information about the school or training facility you need the benefits for (see below).

PART I – APPLICANT INFORMATION

  1. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

Provide your SSN in the field provided. Failure to provide the SSN may result in your application being denied.

  1. SEX OF APPLICANT

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires a binary answer for this form. Select MALE or FEMALE.

  1. DATE OF BIRTH

Enter your full date of birth using the format provided on the form.

  1. NAME

Enter your FULL LEGAL NAME. This form requires you to use the legal name that is on your government-issued ID. If you are in the process of changing your name, know that you are required to use whatever name or identity is currently shown on your government-issued photo ID.

  1. CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS

Include all information including zip code.

  1. TELEPHONE NUMBER

List both home and mobile numbers where applicable, including Area Code.

  1. EMAIL ADDRESS

Enter an email address you check frequently for best results.

  1. DIRECT DEPOSIT INFORMATION

You must not only fill out the fields for the routing number and account number but you will also be required to submit a voided check for use in setting up your Direct Deposit. You must indicate whether the account is checking or savings.

PART II – QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION (See instructions for #13)

  1. NAME OF QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (PARENT OR SPOUSE) ON WHOSE ACCOUNT BENEFITS ARE BEING CLAIMED

Include the full legal first name, middle initial, last name. The qualifying individual is the servicemember.

  1. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR VA FILE NUMBER

It’s best to indicate on the form which number you are submitting.

  1. BRANCH OF SERVICE

Enter the branch of military service in the field provided.

  1. DATE OF BIRTH

Enter the date of birth of the qualifying military member in the field provided.

13A. DID PARENT OR SPOUSE DIE WHILE SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY OR WHILE ON DUTY OTHER THAN ACTIVE DUTY AS A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES?

Check Yes or No for this box if you are a child or spouse of an active duty service member or a member of the Selected Reserve and the servicemember died in the line of duty.

13B. DATE LISTED AS MISSING IN ACTION OR P.O.W.

This field does not apply to all applicants, but if it applies to you, enter the date in the format indicated on the form.

13C. DID PARENT OR SPOUSE DIE FROM A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY WHILE A MEMBER OF THE SELECTED RESERVE?

If the answer is NO, the applicant does not qualify for a Fry Scholarship. If the answer is YES, complete item 13D.

13D. DATE OF DEATH

Enter the date of death of the qualifying service member in the field provided.

  1. IS QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (PARENT OR SPOUSE) ON ACTIVE DUTY?

Answer YES or NO.

15. DO YOU (APPLICANT) OR THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (PARENT OR SPOUSE) HAVE AN OUTSTANDING FELONY AND/OR WARRANT?

Answer YES or NO. The VA advises that applicants are not eligible to receive benefits “for any period for which you or the qualifying individual on whose account you are claiming benefits has an outstanding felony warrant”.

PART III – RELATIONSHIP AND BENEFIT INFORMATION

  1. YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (Check only one)

Select the appropriate box for surviving spouses or dependent school-age children.

SECTION I – SPOUSE/SURVIVING SPOUSE

17A. DATE OF MARRIAGE TO THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL?

The VA advises that this date “will be verified against information entered on VA Form 21-686c, Application Request to Add And/Or Remove Dependents”.

Read More: VA Benefits: How To Add Or Remove Dependents With VA Form 21-686c

17B. IS A DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT PENDING TO THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL?

Answer YES or NO.

  1. IF YOU ARE THE SURVIVING SPOUSE, HAVE YOU REMARRIED?

Answer YES or NO, but if YES, include the official date of remarriage.

  1. SPOUSE/SURVIVING SPOUSE SELECT THE BENEFIT THAT YOU ARE APPLYING FOR BELOW:

This portion is more complex than most of the rest of the form. You will need to select between the Fry Scholarship and VA DEA benefits. You will select one of two choices (A and B) but your selection of benefits in this case is IRREVERSIBLE and you will need to carefully review your options before committing.

OPTION A: AS A SPOUSE OR SURVIVING SPOUSE BASED ON 100% PERMANENT AND TOTAL DISABILITY, SERVICE CONNECTED OR LINE OF DUTY DEATH, I AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 35 – DEA BENEFITS.

Selecting this option is irreversible. Choose carefully.

OPTION B: AS A SURVIVING SPOUSE BASED ON EITHER “IN THE LINE OF DUTY” DEATH WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY OR DUTY OTHER THAN ACTIVE DUTY WHILE A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES, OR A SERVICE CONNECTED DEATH WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER OF THE SELECTED RESERVE AFTER SEPTEMBER 10, 2001. I AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 33 FRY SCHOLARSHIP BENEFITS.

Selecting this option is irreversible. Choose carefully.

SECTION II – CHILD/STEPCHILD/ADOPTED CHILD

  1. CHILD/STEPCHILD/ADOPTED CHILD SELECT THE BENEFIT THAT YOU ARE APPLYING FOR BELOW:

Select A or B, but know that when you choose, it is irreversible.

Option A: I AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 35 – DEA BENEFITS. NOTE – BY CHECKING THIS BOX I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I UNDERSTAND THIS ELECTION IS IRREVOCABLE AND MAY NOT BE CHANGED.

Applicants whose parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011 may apply for both DEA and Fry Scholarship benefits. Applicants eligible for both Chapter 35 (DEA) and Chapter 33 (Fry Scholarship) benefits who would like to use the Chapter 35 benefit first should select Option A.

Option B: AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 33 – FRY SCHOLARSHIP BENEFITS. NOTE – BY CHECKING THIS BOX I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I UNDERSTAND THIS ELECTION IS IRREVOCABLE AND MAY NOT BE CHANGED.

Applicants whose parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, may apply for both DEA and Fry Scholarship benefits. If you are eligible for both Chapter 35 (DEA) and Chapter 33 (Fry Scholarship) benefits and you would like to use the Chapter 33 benefit first, use Option B.

Important note: The Department of Veterans Affairs advises that those who choose Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) or Chapter 33 Post-9/11 Fry Scholarship instead of “payments of compensation, pension, and Dependents’ Indemnity Compensation” is final and cannot be changed. For applicants 18 or older, payments of compensation, pension, and Dependents’ Indemnity Compensation (DIC) will end when approved for a DEA or Fry Scholarship.

  1. I CERTIFY THAT I UNDERSTAND THE EFFECTS THAT THIS ELECTION TO RECEIVE DEA OR FRY SCHOLARSHIP BENEFITS WILL HAVE ON MY ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE DIC OR PENSION BENEFITS

Choose YES or NO.

PART IV – BENEFIT AND TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING INFORMATION

22A. DATE YOU WILL BEGIN SCHOOL OR TRAINING

If you do not know the date, skip this question. Otherwise fill in with the starting date your school has provided.

22B. TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING (Check ONE box) COLLEGE OR OTHER SCHOOL

Select ONE answer from the list below:

  • FARM COOPERATIVE – (DEA ONLY)
  • LICENSING OR CERTIFICATION TEST
  • APPROVED PREP COURSES FOR LICENSE/CERTIFICATION TEST (Chapter 33 and Chapter 35)
  • APPRENTICESHIP OR ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
  • NATIONAL ADMISSION EXAMS OR NATIONAL EXAMS FOR CREDIT
  • CORRESPONDENCE COURSE (Fry Scholarship and DEA – Spouses only)
  • FLIGHT TRAINING (Fry Scholarship only)
  1. NAME AND ADDRESS OF SCHOOL OR TRAINING FACILITY

Be sure to include the number, street, city, state, and zip code.

  1. SPECIFY YOUR EDUCATION OR CAREER OBJECTIVE, IF KNOWN

The VA asks for examples here such as seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, Welding Certificate, Police Officer training, etc.

  1. WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE VOCATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL COUNSELING?

Choose YES or NO.

26A. [DEA ONLY] DO YOU HAVE A MENTAL OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY FOR WHICH YOU ARE SEEKING SPECIAL RESTORATIVE TRAINING?

Choose YES or NO.

26B. [DEA ONLY] DO YOU HAVE A MENTAL OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY FOR WHICH YOU ARE SEEKING SPECIAL VOCATIONAL TRAINING?

Choose YES or NO.

PART V – APPLICATION HISTORY

  1. PRIOR TO THIS APPLICATION, HAVE YOU EVER APPLIED FOR OR RECEIVED ANY OF THE FOLLOWING VA BENEFITS?

Check all boxes which apply below:

A. DISABILITY COMPENSATION OR PENSION

B. DEPENDENTS’ INDEMNITY COMPENSATION (DIC)

C. VETERAN READINESS AND EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (Chapter 31)

D. VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE BASED ON YOUR OWN SERVICE (Specify benefit(s)):

E. VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE BASED ON SOMEONE ELSE’S SERVICE SPECIFY BENEFIT(S) BY CHECKING APPLICABLE BOX BELOW AND COMPLETE ITEMS 29 AND 30 TRANSFERRED ENTITLEMENT.

Select one option below:

  • CHAPTER 35 – SURVIVORS’ AND DEPENDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (DEA)
  • CHAPTER 33 – POST-9/11 GI BILL MARINE GUNNERY SERGEANT DAVID FRY SCHOLARSHIP

F. NONE

G. OTHER (Specify benefits)

Important note: Only complete items 28 and 29 below if you selected box E above.

  1. NAME OF INDIVIDUAL ON WHOSE ACCOUNT YOU PREVIOUSLY CLAIMED BENEFITS

Enter the full legal First, Middle, and Last name.

  1. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF INDIVIDUAL ON WHOSE ACCOUNT YOU PREVIOUSLY CLAIMED BENEFITS

Enter the full legal name as above.       

PART VI – APPLICANT’S MILITARY SERVICE INFORMATION

  1. HAVE YOU EVER SERVED ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMED FORCES?

Choose YES or NO. If NO, skip to Part VII

  1. INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PERIOD(S) OF ACTIVE DUTY

Include the following information in the boxes provided:

  1. Date entered active duty
  2. Date separated from active duty
  3. Branch of service or Guard/Reserve component
  4. Character of discharge

PART VII – EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT

SECTION I – EDUCATION & TRAINING

  1. CHECK THE APPROPRIATE BOX AND ENTER THE DATE IN ITEM 33

Select from the following:

  • GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL
  • DISCONTINUED HIGH SCHOOL
  • EXPECT TO GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL
  • AWARDED GED
  • NEVER ATTENDED HIGH SCHOOL
  1. DATE (Enter in MM/DD/YYYY format. Presumably this is the date of graduation, award of a GED, or the date when the applicant discontinued high school. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide any additional notes or guidance on this Date entry. )

34A. TYPE OF SCHOOL
Fill in the relevant details for each applicable school including:

34B. NAME AND LOCATION OF SCHOOL including both city and state

34C. DATES OF TRAINING including stop and start date

34D.  NUMBER OF SEMESTER, QUARTER, OR CLOCK HOURS COMPLETED

35D. DEGREE, DIPLOMA, OR CERTIFICATE RECEIVED

36D. MAJOR FIELD OR COURSE OF STUDY

SECTION II – EMPLOYMENT

  1. CURRENT AND PAST EMPLOYMENT

Fill in the following boxes with the following information:

  1. EMPLOYER
  2. JOB TITLE
  3. NUMBER OF MONTHS EMPLOYED
  4. JOB TITLE

NOTE: Only complete items 36A and 36B if you are a civilian employee of the federal government.

36A. DO YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE FUNDS FROM YOUR AGENCY OR DEPARTMENT FOR THE SAME COURSES FOR WHICH YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE VA EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE?

Answer YES or NO but if YES, complete Item 36B.

36B. SOURCE OF EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE FROM GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT

Fill in any details you have about your current educational benefits as a government employee.

PART VIII – REMARKS AND REMINDERS AND VA EDUCATION BENEFITS PAMPHLET

SECTION I – REMARKS

  1. REMARKS

Use this space to add any relevant information about your application. If you need additional space, you can attach your remarks on a separate piece of paper but be sure to include your name and Social Security Number on each separate page.

SECTION II – REMINDERS

This space was designed to help you include all relevant information before you submit your application.

DID YOU REMEMBER TO:

  • WRITE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON THE TOP OF EACH PAGE
  • PROVIDE YOUR COMPLETE MAILING AND EMAIL ADDRESS
  • ATTACH SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS (e.g., birth certificate, marriage license, DD214, etc.)

SECTION III – VA EDUCATION BENEFITS INFORMATION

  1. THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION ON VA EDUCATION BENEFITS IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT www.va.gov.

This section is informational only. No personal data is needed here.

PART IX – CERTIFICATION AND SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT

I CERTIFY THAT all statements in my application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

39A. SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT (DO NOT PRINT)

Sign your full legal name as it appears on your government-issued ID card or license. You must be at least 18 years of age to legally sign this form. If under 18, your parent, guardian or custodian must complete and sign in Part X.

39B. DATE

Enter the date when the form is completed.

PENALTY: Willfully false statements as to a material fact in a claim for education benefits is a punishable offense and may result in the forfeiture of these or other benefits and in criminal penalties.

PART X – SIGNATURE OF PARENT, GUARDIAN OR CUSTODIAN

This section must be completed by the parent, guardian, or custodian if the applicant is a minor.

  1. NAME OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN

Include the full legal name of the person signing the form as it appears on their government-issued ID card or license.

41A. MAILING ADDRESS OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN

Include the number, street, city, state, and zip code.

41B. TELEPHONE NUMBER(S) OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN

Include the area code.

41C. EMAIL ADDRESS OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN

Include this information where applicable.

42A. SIGNATURE OF PARENT/GUARDIAN

Check the box provided IF the applicant is under the age of 18.

42B. DATE SIGNED

Enter the date of the signature in 42A.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide for Spouses & Dependents

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is one of the most important military benefits. This guide features step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the application form and submit it to claim transferred VA Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for qualifying military spouses and dependents.

This guide is for GI Bill applications only and not for GI Bill applications being applied for under VA Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) or the National Call-To-Service program.

Read More: VA Benefits Under VET TEC and VA Benefits Under The National Call-To-Service program.

Military Spouse & Dependents’ Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide

This guide advises you on how to apply for transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. In order to complete the paperwork, you must apply AFTER having GI Bill benefits transferred to you and not before. If you have not had Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to you, you will need to have the service member complete that step first.

Transferring GI Bill Benefits

As mentioned above, this step-by-step application guide is written for spouses and dependents who have had GI Bill benefits transferred to them by the service member. It proceeds under the assumption that benefits have already been transferred. You cannot apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits as a spouse or dependent until the military member has them formally transferred to you in writing.

Read More: Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to a Spouse or Dependent

About Terms Used In This Guide

The terms used in this guide are those used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Terms like “dependent” and “sponsor” are found on the VA forms. Know that in typical cases a “dependent” is someone who is not the servicemember, but who is a member of the service member’s immediate family. A “sponsor” is another term for a military member or veteran.

What to Know About GI Bill Entitlement

This guide is not meant to help you determine whether the servicemember is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Learn more about GI Bill eligibility based on the era of service the veteran joined in if you are not sure. All GI Bill payments are made via Direct Deposit. To use the GI Bill you must sign up for Direct Deposit, or contact the U.S. Treasury Department to discuss their waiver policy at 1-888-224-2950.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide: Getting Started

The first thing you must do in order to begin the application process to transfer the Post 9/11 GI Bill is to determine your eligibility for the program. You can do this at the Department of Veterans Affairs official site under the heading How Do I Apply? You’ll want to do this as your preliminary step. When you go to the link above, you will navigate to How Do I Apply and answer the following questions under FIND YOUR EDUCATION FORM:

Are you applying for a benefit or updating your program or place of training?

Answer “Applying for a new benefit”.

Are you a Veteran or service member claiming a benefit based on your own service?

Answer NO.

This will open a smaller list of questions, which include:

Is your sponsor deceased, 100% permanently disabled, MIA, or a POW?

Answer Yes or No. Answering Yes reveals an APPLY NOW button which takes you to a page with VA Form 22-5490 (Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits). You will complete this application to claim your GI Bill benefit.

Answering No opens another question:

Has your sponsor transferred their benefits to you?

Answer Yes or No. If you answer NO, you will have to wait to complete the application form until the GI Bill benefit has been transferred to you by the service member. Once the transfer has been approved by the Department of Defense (the VA does not approve or deny transfers) you can proceed to the next step, which is to complete VA Form 22-1990E (see below).

If you answer YES, an APPLY NOW button will appear, click on it to be taken to a page that links you to the online form VA Form 22-1990E (Application for Family Member to Use Transferred Benefits). Complete this form.

What to Know About Applying Online with the VA

You will be asked to log in before starting to fill out the form. If you do NOT log in, filling out the form is practically useless since you CANNOT SAVE it unless you log in. Filling the form out without logging in and trying to log in afterward to save the form may not work.

When you log in before applying, the VA may be able to auto-fill some of your application, based on your VA account information that may already be in the system. The VA says by signing in to your VA.gov account, you may be able to get an “instant decision” on your benefits claim application, depending on circumstances.

Once you log into VA.gov and begin filling out your application, you can save it in progress for up to 60 days. Once you begin a GI Bill application form, you have 60 days to complete it or it may be deleted.

Before Applying for the GI Bill, Gather Your Information

What do you need to provide besides the filled-out VA claim form (see below) when you initiate this process? There is a list of items you’ll need to gather before you start working on your claim. They include:

  • Social Security number.
  • Bank account direct deposit information including routing number and account number.
  • Education and military history.
  • Basic information about the school or training facility you need the benefits for (see below).

School Selection Issues

Not all schools participate in the GI Bill program. This is one reason why school choice can be an important part of this process. If a school is not on the VA list there may be any number of reasons why.

Read More: The Best GI Bill Schools

The school may be in the process of being approved by the VA, and may not have made it through the system yet. The school may have been rejected by the VA. If your school isn’t able to accept GI Bill funds, you’ll need to find one that does or learn more about alternative school funding options.

Learn more about your alternative school funding options. You can also explore options in states that offer free college to veterans.

Starting Your Post 9/11 Transferred GI Bill Benefits Application

Once the DoD has approved the transfer request, family members can apply for transferred GI Bill benefits online, by mail, or in person.

You can also seek help from a Veteran Service Organization. You will be required to submit a VA form plus other supporting documentation as described above. There may be additional forms required depending on the school and the nature of your studies.

How to Apply for the GI Bill In Person

You can apply with help from your school’s VA Certifying Official. The official will help you or direct you to someone who can help you complete the GI Bill form described here and you will get good advice on how the process works at that financial institution.

You can also apply in person at a VA Regional office near you. If you want to apply in person, be sure to contact the regional office in advance to make an appointment or walk in depending on the availability of representatives in your area.

How to Apply for GI Bill Benefits By Mail

You can call the Department of Veterans Affairs directly at 888-442-4551 during business hours Monday through Friday to request a paper application be sent to you. Once the application is complete, send it to the VA regional claims processing office in the same area as your school.

How to Apply for GI Bill Benefits Using a Veteran Service Officer

The VA asks applicants to use the VA eBenefits portal if they decide to use a VSO to apply for these benefits. You can let the VA know you’ll use a VSO to assist you with your application via eBenefits and you can also use the portal to search for a local VSO. There is also a search tool offered by the VA Office of the General Counsel to find VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited professionals. Veteran Service Officers typically work for Veteran Service Organizations like the DAV, AMVETS, and other entities.

Read More: What Are Veteran Service Organizations?

A VSO can help you fill out and submit VA Form 22-1990E, Application for VA Benefits. What follows in this section is step-by-step instructions for completing the form for those who want to do it themselves.

VA Form 22-1990E Application for VA Benefits Step-By-Step Guide

Start by downloading VA Form 22-1990E from the VA official site. The completion time for this form is estimated at 15 minutes. It is smart to allow for more time to complete and submit the form, there are many questions and details to be provided. It’s best not to apply for this benefit if you are pressed for time that day–wait until you can complete your application in one sitting when submitting online for the best results.

VA Form 22-1990E Step-By-Step Instructions: Page 1  of 4

PART I – APPLICANT INFORMATION

  1. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF APPLICANT

Fill in the blanks with your Social Security Number. Providing the number may be labeled as “voluntary” but without the Social Security Number, you may not be able to apply for this benefit.

  1. SEX OF APPLICANT

For GI Bill purposes, it will be necessary to use the gender currently reflected on your state government ID, military ID card, or other identification.

If you are in the process of changing your IDs to reflect your personal pronouns, know that all official communication with the VA will require the “official” gender as in your current government records. If you need assistance in this area, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000.

  1. APPLICANT’S DATE OF BIRTH

Enter your full date of birth in the boxes provided.

  1. NAME (First, Middle Initial, Last)

As with the gender portion of this GI Bill application, you will need to enter your name as it is currently shown on your government IDs. This is unfortunate for some, but at press time the application process has not evolved to accept variations in these identification fields.

  1. APPLICANT’S ADDRESS

Provide your full physical address. Providing a temporary address or a P.O. Box may delay your receipt of important communication from the VA.

6A. APPLICANT’S TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Include both home and mobile numbers where applicable and always include the area code.

6B. APPLICANT’S E-MAIL ADDRESS

This is NOT an optional field. Your email address is required to complete this form.

7. DIRECT DEPOSIT

This section asks you to provide your bank routing number and account number. Signing up for Direct Deposit is typically required for GI Bill benefits.

8A. RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SERVICEMEMBER

This section asks you to indicate whether you are a spouse or a dependent.

8B.DID YOU RECEIVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY CERTIFICATE?

Answer YES or NO but if YES, provide the date earned.

PAGE 1 PART II–BENEFIT TRANSFERRED AND TYPE AND PROGRAM OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING

The application form you are filling out can be used for multiple benefits. This guide is specifically for applying for transferred GI Bill benefits using this form.

9A. BENEFIT TRANSFERRED TO YOU

Check Box 9A, Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.

9B. TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING

Select the appropriate box:

    • College or another school
    • Vocational Flight Training
    • National Test Reimbursement (Sat, CLEP, Etc.)
    • Licensing / Certification Test Reimbursement (MCSE, CCNA, EMT, NCLEX, etc)
    • Preparatory Course
    • Apprenticeship / On-The-Job Training
    • Correspondence
    • Tuition Assistance Top-Up

9C. FULL NAME AND ADDRESS OF SCHOOL, IF KNOWN

This is a text box where you will enter the relevant details if you have them.

9D. PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR EDUCATIONAL OR CAREER OBJECTIVE, IF KNOWN

Another text box where you can type in the appropriate information.

That is the end of Page One of this application.

VA Form 22-1990 Step-By-Step Instructions: Page 2 of 4

PAGE 2 PART III – TYPE AND PROGRAM OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING

The top of the second page on the upper right has a section for entering your Social Security Number. This is at the top of each page in the four-page application. Be sure to enter your SSN on each page.

10A. DO YOU HOLD ANY FAA FLIGHT CERTIFICATES?

Answer YES or NO but if YES, specify in the space provided.

10B. EDUCATION AFTER HIGH SCHOOL

This section should include any apprenticeship, on-the-job training, and flight training you may have taken, plus the dates attended, degree or certificate earned, etc. You will also need to provide the number of hours and the type of hours (term, semester, etc.)

10C. EMPLOYMENT

Enter two jobs you have held since high school including the dates, names of employers, occupation/specialty, etc.

PAGE 2 PART IV – ENTITLEMENT TO AND USAGE OF ADDITIONAL TYPES OF ASSISTANCE

Answer only the questions which apply to you in this section.

11A. FOR APPLICANTS ON ACTIVE DUTY ONLY

Are you receiving or do you anticipate receiving any money (including but not limited to Federal Tuition Assistance) from the Armed Forces or Public Health Service for the course for which you have applied to the VA for education benefits? Answer YES or NO.

11B. FOR APPLICANTS WHO ARE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ONLY:

Are you receiving or do you anticipate receiving any money (including but not limited to the Government Employees Training Act) from your Agency for the same period for which you have applied to the VA for education benefits? If you will receive such benefits during any part of your training, check YES.

PAGE 2 PART V – SERVICE MEMBER INFORMATION

12. SERVICE MEMBER’S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

Enter the service member’s Social Security Number here. Failure to provide this information may result in not receiving the benefit.

13. SERVICE MEMBER’S BRANCH OF SERVICE

Enter the appropriate branch of service here.

14. SERVICE MEMBER’S NAME (First, Middle Initial, Last)

Enter the full legal name of the service member.

15. SERVICE MEMBER’S ADDRESS

Enter the full current address of the service member.

PAGE 2  PART VI – CERTIFICATION AND SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN

This section must be completed by the parent, guardian or custodian if the applicant is a minor. You will certify that “all statements in my application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

16A. SIGNATURE

Check the appropriate box below and sign your full legal name. Do not print your name, but use your signature the way you would on a check or a contract.

 

 

 

VA Benefits: How to Add or Remove Dependents with VA Form 21-686c

Have you gotten married or experienced other changes in your family since you applied for benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs?  If you are a retired or separated military member who has had a change in marital status, family size, or similar circumstances, you’ll need to update VA records to include information about those changes.

Failing to do so can affect you and your spouse/dependents’ ability to claim certain VA education benefits such as the Fry Scholarship or Chapter 35 DEA benefits.

That is why if you are a military member with a spouse or dependents, you should know about VA Form 21-686c, the application used to add or remove dependents from your veteran benefits. Knowing about the form, when it is required, and how it is used can help you avoid delays in updating the VA.

You will use VA Form 21-686c to add those you financially support. The list of those who may be added to your VA benefits includes:

  • Unmarried dependent children under 18
  • Adult children between 18 and 23 who are in school,
  • Parents who are financially dependent on you
  • Spouses

Why You Need VA Form 21-686c

When you retire or separate from the military, you have the opportunity to file a claim with the VA for service-connected medical issues and other veteran benefits. You also have the ability to add your dependents, spouse, or financially dependent parents for consideration for certain VA benefits.

What’s more, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers added consideration for veterans with dependents and a VA disability rating of 30% or higher.

But before, during, or after applying for these benefits you may experience changes in family size. Do you have a VA rating of 30% or more? If you get married, divorced, have a child, or begin financially supporting a parent, you will need to complete and submit VA Form 21-686c to add the new spouse, child, etc.

If you experience a death in the family and that person was previously listed as a dependent, spouse, or parent you may be required to submit an updated VA Form 21-686c with that information.

When Not To Use VA Form 21-686c

Do not complete this form to add a dependent child who is older than 23. You WILL need to use this form to REMOVE a dependent who has aged out (older than 23) or who has gotten married. You should not fill out this form to add someone the VA does not consider a qualifying dependent or spouse.

Who does the VA consider a qualified dependent?

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children (biological or otherwise) under the age of 18 or who are 18 to 23 years old and attending school full-time.
  • A disabled adult child who experienced the disability before age 18.
  • Dependent parents who live with you and rely on you for support. Need-based guidelines may apply.

VA rules do not focus on the “status” of a parent or child. Stepparents, foster children, adopted children, etc. are all considered.

How VA Form 21-686c Works

This form asks you for information needed by the Department of Veterans Affairs about the spouse, parent, or dependent you wish to add / remove from your VA benefits. You should report births, deaths, marriages of dependent children, etc.

Failure to report changes that result in you being overpaid by the VA will result in the Department of Veterans Affairs contacting you to pay back the overage. You will be required to pay back any benefits arriving after the death of a spouse or dependent, and the same is true if a dependent child gets married or reaches age 24 and is still receiving VA benefits.

Completing Form 21-686c

You will need to gather certain documentation which may vary depending on the circumstances of your application. Before you start filling out the form, take some time to read through the application form. It is best to gather all required information and documents before attempting to complete the form.

In cases where you must add or remove a dependent child, the usual details are required including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Contact information for those the child lives with if not residing with you.

Consider Form 21-686c when you have a change in family status that could affect a VA benefit.

If you need to add a parent, be sure to gather information about the parent’s net worth, any assets or property, and any income where applicable. These details are required. You’ll also be asked to name all in your household who depend on you financially.

Complete the form and mail it to the address listed at the bottom of page two, or complete it online and submit it electronically through the VA official site.

Things To Know About Submitting This Form

The VA official site advises that submitting an incomplete form will result in delays in approving your application. Fill out the form as completely as possible. It’s not a good idea to begin using this form online without logging in to the VA official site as you may not be able to save your entries.

How to Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to a Spouse or Dependent

Transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill® benefits to a family member may be one of the most popular military benefits available to an active duty service member and those in the Selected Reserve.

But you are not allowed to simply fill out a form and authorize your GI Bill education benefits to be transferred to your spouse or college-age child. The Department of Defense requires a new active duty service commitment in order for you to be approved to transfer your benefit.

Can I Transfer My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

The first thing to know about transferring your GI Bill benefit is that it is NOT up to the Department of Veterans Affairs to approve or deny your request – the Department of Defense ultimately sets the rules and decides who is allowed to transfer GI Bill benefits.

You may be able to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits if you’re on active duty or in the Selected Reserve and you meet all requirements below:

  • Complete 6 years or more of qualifying service on the date your request is approved
  • Agree to a 4-year service commitment as a condition of approval
  • The person you are transferring your benefits to is enrolled in DEERS

If your spouse or dependent is not in DEERS you will have to accomplish this before you can proceed.

Benefits for Dependents and Spouses with a Transferred GI Bill

Your spouse or dependent child may qualify for up to 36 months of benefits that may include:

  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Books and supplies

How to Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The most important thing to know about transferring your GI Bill benefits to a dependent or spouse is that you must apply and be approved for the transfer while you are still serving. Once you retire or separate from military service, you cannot apply for a transfer.

To apply while you are still serving, you will apply through the Department of Defense milConnect portal, and NOT through the VA. The Department of Veterans Affairs cannot accept, process, or approve your transfer request.

To begin,

  1. Go to milConnect
  2. Select Transfer My Education Benefits. You will need a DS Logon to do this.
  3. You will apply online for the transfer approval
  4. Obtain the “retainability” needed to qualify (you agree to reenlist or to extend a commission for another 4 years)
  5. Await DoD approval

You will need to select a family member (you can agree to split the benefit among multiple immediate family members in any combination but 36 months is the limit for the entire benefit regardless of how many use it.) from the list provided (as reflected in DEERS) and for each eligible family member enter the number of months to transfer.

You may be prompted to enter a transfer end date. Doing so will cause the transferred benefit to end on that date for that person. According to the VA official site, “we recommend you leave the End Date blank as the system will provide the latest legal end date allowed.” Be advised, if you enter an end date, the VA cannot grant extensions beyond that date.

You will also be prompted to select the benefit you are transferring, acknowledge the program’s rules, and submit the request to the DoD. Once you have been approved for the transfer, your dependents or spouse may begin the application process for the GI Bill benefit itself.

Once You Have Applied to Transfer Your GI Bill

While you are still waiting for approval of the transfer, you can track your request through milConnect. If you are approved, the system will update to reflect “Transfer Approved” or “Transfer Request Approved” and the approval date.

Once you get approved status your milConnect account will also reflect indicators showing how far into your military service commitment (required to transfer the GI Bill) you have come so far, according to VA.gov:

  • A green message means you have fulfilled your service obligation.
  • A yellow message means you must stay in the Service until your obligation end date or risk losing eligibility to transfer education benefits.
  • Guard and Selected Reserve members must maintain an uninterrupted Selected Reserve status during the entire obligatory service time.
  • A red message means you are at risk of failing or have failed to complete your service commitment. This is typically because your separation date is before your ”obligation end date”.

After the Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer Is Approved

Once the transfer is approved and the GI Bill application has been submitted and approved, there are rules dictating how the benefits can be used and when.

Rules for Military Spouses

For spouses, the GI Bill can be accessed immediately, and:

    • The spouse can use the benefit while the service member is still on active duty or after separating from service.
    • The spouse can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the servicemember retires or separates.
    • Be aware you will not qualify for the monthly housing allowance while on active duty

Rules for Dependent Children

The rules for dependent children include the following:

    • School-age dependents can use the Post 9/11 GI Bill only after the servicemember completes 10 years of service or more.
    • The benefit is available while the servicemember is on active duty or after retirement/separation.
    • The benefit cannot be used until the student has earned a high school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or has turned 18 years old.
    • Dependent children may qualify for the monthly housing allowance even when the servicemember is still on active duty
    • The dependent must use the benefit before turning 26 years old.

Dependents can still use their transferred GI Bill benefits even if they get married, or you and your spouse get a divorce. Service members and Veterans can change certain GI Bill transfer options at any time.

Apply For Transferred GI Bill Benefits

When you get your approval back from the Department of Defense your family members may apply for the GI Bill. It can be done online at the VA official site or you can apply by mail. Fill out VA Form 22-1990E and mail it to your nearest VA regional office.

What to Know if Your School Closes or is Removed From the VA Approved List

In cases where your school closes or loses approval for VA education assistance programs, legislation such as the VETS Credit Act can help. Changes to VA policy (through federal law) allow students to apply for a restoration of 100% VA education benefits.

Not all students are approved, and conditions apply. Those who do not want to transfer credits may have their restoration approved without further certifications depending on circumstances.

Students may be required to apply to a new school that will accept transfer credits before the VA will consider restoration of their entitlement. If you choose to transfer credits you may be approved for full restoration of VA education benefits–the condition is that you must transfer fewer than 12 credit hours and certify to such in writing with the VA.

Those who choose to transfer more than 12 credits will not have their benefit restored. Make an appointment with a VA representative or a school admissions advisor if you aren’t sure how these rules may apply to you.

Read more: When Your School Closes: The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act

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Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility Percentages Explained

How does the VA determine whether you are eligible for 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement or not? This is an important question since those who do not qualify for 100% of the GI Bill may still attend college using this VA education benefit but may need to pay some of the expenses out-of-pocket because they don’t have full entitlement.

How the VA Determines Your GI Bill Benefits Percentage

The Department of Veterans Affairs bases your GI Bill benefit percentage on how long you may have served on active duty.

There are “other factors” also mentioned at the VA official site. In today’s military, new recruits may typically be allowed to apply for GI Bill benefits after having served on active duty for 90 days or more. If you aren’t sure whether you have served long enough to qualify you can always check your Statement of Benefits by logging in at VA.gov.

Who is Eligible for 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits

You may be eligible for the full 100% GI Bill benefit if you meet at least one of these requirements:

  • You served on active duty and were awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001;
  • You served on active duty for at least 30 continuous days and were discharged because of a service-connected disability;
  • You served on active duty for at least 36 months.

Who Is Eligible for a Percentage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Service members who were on active duty for less than 36 months are not eligible for the full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit. They may be entitled to a portion of the benefit based on time served:

  • Between 30 months and 36 months: 90% of the full benefit
  • Between 24 months and 30 months: 80% of the full benefit
  • Between 18 months and 24 months: 70% of the full benefit
  • Between 6 months and 18 months: 60% of the full benefit
  • Between 90 days and 6 months: 50% of the full benefit

What The Post 9/11 GI Bill Covers Based On Percentage

The VA determines your Post 9/11 GI Bill coverage based on a variety of factors including the percentage of the benefit you qualify for. Typically the VA needs the following information to process your application:

  • How much the school charges for in-state tuition/fees;
  • Whether the school is willing to charge you at the in-state rate;
  • What percentage of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits you have.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Rates For In-State Public School Tuition

Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will cover you at the percentage you’re eligible for at the in-state rate. VA.gov provides an example using an arbitrary amount that may or may not accurately reflect the cost of attending a given school.

In the example, if your in-state tuition is $22,000 and you qualify for the GI Bill at 100% of the rate, your tuition will be fully covered. Those entitled to 70% of the GI Bill would have some $15,400 covered with the student paying the remainder.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Rates For Out-of-State Students

Thanks to the Veterans Choice Act, those who want to attend an out-of-state public school with VA-approved programs must be offered the in-state rate. Your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will cover you at the percentage you’re eligible for such as in the example above.

You may be eligible for in-state tuition under the Act if you meet all of these requirements:

  • You’re receiving benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD), or Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E).
  • You’re a “covered individual” meaning you served on active duty for at least 90 days since September 10, 2001.
  • When you start school, you live in the state where the school is located

Covered individuals can also be spouses or dependents. As a spouse or child of a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs says you’re a “covered individual” if:

  • You’re using education benefits transferred from a veteran, or
  • You’re using benefits under the Fry Scholarship and the veteran had served a period of active-duty service of at least 90 days before their death.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Out-of-State Tuition

If you want to attend an out-of-state public school, but that institution does not provide in-state rates for veterans,  the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay the out-of-state rate at the percentage you qualify for, but only at the in-state rate. You will pay the remainder. In such cases the Yellow Ribbon program may help offset the remaining amount.

Post-9/11 GI Bill For Private Schools

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will cover costs at a private school up to a certain amount and the Yellow Ribbon program may be able to help offset the cost for those who qualify. To determine your GI Bill rate for a private school, you need the following information:

  • The current national maximum amount that the Post-9/11 GI Bill will cover at a private or foreign school;
  • The percentage of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits you’re eligible for.

Multiply the percentage of benefits you’re eligible for by the current national maximum amount. This is how much the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will cover.

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a centralized list of GI Bill rates and other important VA Education benefits information; you can check the rates for your current school year for a variety of VA education programs including the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Fry Scholarship, DEA/Chapter 35 benefits and more. When checking these rates, know that in cases where a class begins before the date on the benefits chart, that class is paid in full using the previous year’s rate.

 

 

Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an educational benefit to qualifying veterans who want to pursue higher education opportunities in highly technical fields but don’t want to use their GI Bill benefits or who don’t have enough GI Bill left to use for a course of study.

The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses, also known as VET TEC, offers VA education benefits to help you start or continue a high-tech career if you qualify for the GI Bill.

The VA official site describes VET TEC as a 5-year pilot program, offered as long as funds are available. That said, the VA official site also notes that thanks to the passage of a 2020 bill, the Isakson and Roe Act of 2020, VET TEC is expanding with funding increases from $15 million per year to $45 million per year of the program.

How VET TEC Works

Those who qualify may be offered tuition for a full-time program. There is an application process required (see below) as VET TEC benefits are not automatic.

There is also an option to receive a housing stipend paid while you attend training. The housing stipend is calculated based on whether or not you are attending training in person or taking online courses.

Do you plan to attend in person? If so the housing stipend is paid based on the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. The amount you are paid is established by zip code, based on the location of your education. Are you considering attending classes online? Your housing stipend is half of the BAH national average for an E-5 with dependents.

Housing payments are prorated when you do not attend classes for a full month, such as before spring or winter break. If you are approved for VET TEC you get these benefits without having them charged against your GI Bill.

What Kind of Training Is Available Through VET TEC?

You can get training in high-demand areas which include but may not be limited to:

  • Computer software
  • Computer programming
  • Data processing
  • Information science
  • Media applications

Who Qualifies for VET TEC

The qualifying criteria for VET TEC include ALL of the following if you are not already retired or separated from active duty service.

You must:

  • Be within 180 days of separating from active duty, and
  • Qualify for the GI Bill, and
  • Have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits, and
  • Be accepted into an approved program

You can apply for VET TEC online using Login.gov or ID.me. You can also get help from a Veterans Service Organization. If you have not explored your VA education benefit options in a while you might have missed that VET TEC expanded its qualifying criteria; service members were once not permitted to do what they can now–under changed VA guidelines you can apply for VET TEC if you’re within 180 days of separating from the military.

How to Apply for VET TEC

The VA official site requests that service members and veterans apply online for VET TEC benefits. You will need to complete VA Form 22-0994 Application for Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC). You will need to submit the following documentation with your application, it’s a good idea to gather these ahead of time and submit everything at once:

  • Direct deposit information
  • Highest level of education
  • Previous high-tech industry experience, if applicable
  • Information about the training provider or program you want to attend

As mentioned above, you must sign in to complete the application. The application itself typically takes about 10 minutes to complete assuming you have all supporting documentation available.

After submitting the form, you’ll get a confirmation message. You can print this for your records. If you are applying for VET TEC but have not applied for other VA education benefits, an Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990) is also required. If you currently receive VA education benefits, you don’t need to fill out VA Form 22-1990 a second time.

The Department Of Veterans Affairs typically takes 30 days to process these forms and you will be notified by mail of acceptance or rejection for the program.

 

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VA Education Benefits Under The National Call-To-Service Program

Have you performed a period of national service by joining the military under the VA National Call To Service program or NCS? You may qualify for VA education benefits through NCS. This program is intended for those who need an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill, and is offered under specific qualifying circumstances, as we’ll explore below.

Who Qualifies For Benefits Under The National Call-To-Service Program?

There are three basic requirements you must meet in order to be considered for VA education benefits under NCS.

1. After basic training, the applicant must serve on active duty “in a military occupational specialty designated by the Secretary of Defense” for at least a year and three months.

2. Without a break in service, you must also serve either an additional period of active duty or a period of 24 months in an active status in the Selected Reserve.

3. After meeting these two requirements and without a break in service you must agree to a “remaining period of obligated service” as defined in your contract. This service can include:

  • Active Duty
  • Selected Reserve
  • AmeriCorps or similar approved domestic national service programs
  • Any combination of the service options above

VA Education Benefits Under The National Call-To-Service Program

When you join the military under the National Call-To-Service program you get a choice of benefits from a list of options. If you qualify for the program you may choose between:

  • A cash payment of $5,000, or;
  • Repayment of a qualifying student loan, not more than $18,000, or;
  • Educational assistance equal to the 3-year monthly Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) rate for 12 months, or;
  • Educational assistance equal to 50% of the less-than-3-year monthly MGIB rate for 36 months.

The VA official site says “National Call to Service (NCS) participants who elect to receive an educational assistance incentive are not entitled to additional assistance” under the GI Bill. You must choose one program or the other and cannot use both simultaneously at the full payment rate.

VA rules state that if you enter military service under NCS you can only sign up for the GI Bill if you reenlist.

For those who have eligibility for both NCS and the GI Bill, know that anyone “who receives benefits under the NCS program who also establishes eligibility under chapter 1606 or chapter 30 will have entitlement under Chapter 1606 or Chapter 30 reduced” by the amounts paid via NCS.

How to Apply for the National Call-To-Service Program

Complete VA Form 22-1990N (Application for VA Education Benefits Under the National Call to Service (NCS) Program). To do this you will need to provide your Social Security Number and some supplemental information:

  • Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend
  • Bank account direct deposit information
  • Education history

The VA typically processes applications in 30 days according to the official site. Your experience may vary. Once the VA has processed your application it will contact you by mail to let you know if more information is needed or if a decision has been made. When you are approved for NCS benefits you will receive an award letter in the mail. If you have been denied, you will also be notified by mail.

It may take as little as 15 minutes to fill out the application. You will need to sign in to complete the form using ID.me, DS Logon, myHealtheVet, or Login.gov.

Cost-of-Living Increases For Montgomery GI Bill, Dependent Education Benefits

If you are attending classes on the Montgomery GI Bill or the VA Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program, you will see an increase in your monthly payments starting in October 2022, thanks to the annual Cost of Living Adjustment or COLA.

COLA changes for the Post 9/11 GI Bill are already in effect, those increases occurred in August 2022.

Montgomery GI Bill — Active Duty COLA Increases

Active-duty full-time students using the Montgomery GI Bill may see their monthly payment move up to $2,210. Active duty half-time students will see their rate increase to $1,105 per month.

Montgomery GI Bill rules specify a monthly payment, the amount is determined by the number of classroom hours you carry. Undergraduate attendance may be calculated as follows:

  • 0-2 hours is equal to quarter-time attendance
  • 3-5 hours – is equal to less than half-time attendance
  • 6-8 hours – equal to half-time attendance
  • 9-11 hours is equal to three-quarter time attendance

12 hours or more is considered full-time in most cases. When attending grad school on the Montgomery GI Bill, you are paid based on what your school determines as full or part-time attendance. That means if your school considers six hours of classes per semester or term to be full-time, you are considered a full-time student for Montgomery GI Bill purposes.

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) COLA Increases

A full-time Reservist using the Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve) will see GI Bill monthly payments to go up to $439 in October. Half-time Reservist students could see their monthly payments go up to $219. 

Undergraduate attendance under the MGIB-SR is as follows:

  • 0-2 hours – quarter-time
  • 3-5 hours – less than halftime
  • 6-8 hours – half-time
  • 9-11 hours – three-quarter time

12 hours or more is considered full-time in most cases. Graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve are paid based on what your school establishes as a full time commitment. If your school considers six hours of classes per semester or term to be full-time, you are considered a full-time student for Montgomery GI Bill purposes.

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program COLA Increases

The VA program called Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program offers up to 36 months in VA education benefits that can be used for a degree or credentials in VA-approved programs.

Full-time students using VA Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance benefits could get $1,401 a month thanks to the COLA increase. Half-time students may be offered as much as $812 a month. 

Spouses or school-age dependent children of vets who meet any of the criteria listed below may qualify for this program. Qualifying criteria includes, but may not be limited to the following as published by the Department of Veterans Affairs:

  • A veteran who is permanently, totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability;
  • A veteran who died as the result of a service-connected disability
  • A veteran who died with a VA recognized service-connected disability, but not necessarily because of it.
  • A service member missing in action
  • A service member captured in the line of duty.
  • A service member likely to be discharged or released from service for a service-connected disability.

To qualify, dependent children must be between the ages of 18 – 26. You do not qualify for this program if you are serving on active duty, and this benefit is typically not offered after your 31st birthday.

Qualifying military spouses have a ten-year span of time to use these benefits. That clock begins counting down from the time you are declared eligible for the benefit, or 10 years from the death of the veteran.

Education Benefits for Veterans

Military education benefits vary for active duty, veterans, spouses, and dependents. If you have retired or separated from military service you have options that may not be open to other applicants, or you may have benefits that active-duty servicemembers also enjoy but not in quite the same way. What do you need to know about your military education benefits to get started?

Veteran Education Benefits: An Overview

As someone who has retired or separated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, your options for education assistance may include:

  • Education benefits from the Department Of Veterans Affairs
  • Education benefits from state or local governments
  • Private military education programs and grants

Typically, guides like these start with the best-known programs and work their way down the list to the least well-known options.

If you are recently retired or separated, you may know some of your VA options already thanks to final-out processing briefings and seminars. In this guide, we’ll list some of the more obscure options first to help you quickly find resources you might not have thought of at first.

Private Veteran Education Programs, Grants, and Scholarships

The best-known veteran-friendly agencies such as the DAV, VFW, and American Legion often offer scholarships, grants, or other financial assistance for qualifying veterans.

>> Find scholarships for military, veterans, spouses, and dependents with the CollegeRecon Scholarship Finder!

Some of this assistance may be offered to those with qualifying service-connected medical issues, some may be offered to those who served during specific eras such as the Gulf War or the Vietnam War.

Other assistance may be offered to any qualifying applicant on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of a medical condition, the era of service, etc. Some examples of these privately-funded opportunities for veterans include:

  • AMVETS offers educational assistance for veterans who want to attend an accredited college, university or technical school. You must have no convictions for drug-related offenses and you are required to complete an essay to apply.
  • The American Legion has in the past offered financial assistance to members of the society who are veterans pursuing undergraduate studies at an accredited college or university.
  • The Pat Tillman Foundation offers financial assistance to veterans and active-duty military who can meet both merit-based and eligibility-based criteria. This college education assistance for veterans requires the submission of two written essays in addition to the other criteria.

Other options may be offered by Veteran Service Organizations such as

  • Vietnam Veterans Of America
  • Voluntary Service Overseas
  • Navy Mutual
  • AmVets
  • Blinded Veterans Association
  • Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • The African American Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Association
  • American Legion

Military Aid Societies

Military aid societies are generally private, non-profit, tax-exempt organizations working on behalf of their members. These societies include tuition assistance and college fund options for qualifying applicants.

Not all programs offer the same options, and not all of them offer financial aid for veterans. Options may change depending on funding issues, mission demands, program changes, or federal regulations. The following are all good examples of relief societies that may offer or have offered veterans financial aid in the past.

This is by no means a comprehensive list–there are too many privately-funding programs to list here. One important resource to use in your search for such programs? Your state-level veterans’ affairs office.

You can find this on your state government’s official site and these pages often list state and local-level education resources for veterans as well as typical pages listing state government services, locations, etc.

State/Local Veteran Education Programs

Every state in America has an official site that lists programs, services, and other help for those who need to deal with the state government. Many cities and municipalities have official sites, too.

These websites may have valuable information about veteran education grants, scholarships, in-state tuition options for veterans attending from out-of-state, and more.

You will typically find these benefits (at the state level) on the official page for that state’s Department of Veterans Affairs (not the federal agency found at VA.gov).

This entity may be known as a Division of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Veterans Affairs, or simply as the Department of Veterans Affairs (again, a state entity and not the federal one). A short sampling of such official sites includes but is definitely not limited to:

Each state will have its own official site and typically has a veterans resources page including any current education benefits or links to those benefits. State benefits vary greatly. Some states are incredibly stingy in their veteran education benefits while others are fairly generous.

Vermont, for example, offers education benefits to members of the National Guard but at press time no other options seem to be available directly from the state. For all others, the state official site (at press time) refers veterans to a third-party private entity, the Vermont Student Assistance Program.

Compare that with the Illinois Veterans Grant which pays for tuition and fees for qualifying applicants who lived in Illinois when they entered military service or who have become state residents since leaving (a time limit for relocation to the state may apply.)

This grant can be used in conjunction with the GI Bill or on its own and may be useful for saving or extending the GI Bill benefit. It’s not the only state-level grant of its kind but your experience may vary depending on which state you live in or entered military service from.

Education benefits From the Department Of Veterans Affairs

For veterans, there are many options to choose from; some choices are made while still serving (Montgomery GI Bill or Post 9/11 are choices some vets have had to make while still serving) and some are options that may be open to you depending on the nature of the education and training you seek.

Not everyone wants a traditional four-year degree; there are options for technical training, pilot training, OJT, apprenticeships, and much more, as we’ll discover below.

  • The GI Bill includes the Post 9/11 and the Montgomery GI Bill.
  • Veteran Readiness And Employment (VR&E) also known as Chapter 31 helps veterans learn about their employment, education, and training options.
  • Educational and career counseling through Chapter 36 benefits include free educational and career counseling if you are leaving active duty.
  • “Other educational assistance” programs offered by the VA.

Montgomery GI Bill Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill is an option for those who entered active duty after June 30, 1985, and opted into the program. This version of the GI Bill offers 36 months of basic VA education benefits depending on how long you served, the type of education you seek, and the category of your military service. Different lengths of service may qualify for pro-rated Montgomery GI Bill benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill features no housing stipend, has no ability to transfer the benefit to a spouse or dependent, and is generally more limited than the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Those who qualified for this option were offered the chance to switch to the Post 9/11 version; once a choice has been selected it cannot be undone but many did opt into the Post 9/11 GI Bill instead once the option was available.

The Montgomery GI Bill came in multiple versions including one for active duty and one for Guard/Reserve members. Even though the active duty version is identified as such, a veteran who no longer serves on active duty uses the active duty version of the program; Reservists who have retired or separated use the Reserve component version of the GI Bill.

The Montgomery GI Bill is closed to new applicants; those serving today are enrolled in the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides 48 months of education benefits for those who served on or after September 10, 2001. This program includes payment of tuition and fees, a housing stipend paid while you attend classes, and the ability to transfer your GI Bill benefit to a spouse or dependent school-age children. Some of your benefits are paid based on your attendance as a full-time student, half-time student, etc. You apply for these benefits through the VA official site, or in person at any VA regional office

You may qualify for this program if one of the following applies:

  • You served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and received an Honorable discharge;
  • You served for at least 30 continuous days and received an Honorable discharge and have a service-connected disability;
  • You’re a dependent applying for transferred VA benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill program.
  • You were in the Reserves and lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015-restoration of benefits may be possible.

Some qualify for both the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill. You are allowed to use only one of these programs for your qualifying period of military service.

GI Bill benefits may expire depending on when you joined. For example, if you retired or separated before January 1 2013 you have 15 years to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you retired or separated on or after January 1 2013 your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits do not expire.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Post 9/11 GI Bill includes an option for those with qualifying military service who are at the 100% level for their GI Bill benefit, meaning they served the entire minimum qualifying time on active duty to become eligible for the benefit.

The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to offset the cost of attending an approved private school with tuition above and beyond what the GI Bill program can pay for–the Yellow Ribbon program can help pay for higher out-of-state tuition, too.

Not all schools participate in Yellow Ribbon. You will need to ask your admissions counselor if the school you have selected is eligible and participates. And not everyone qualifies for this program. In general, you must meet one of the following:

  • You served at least 36 months on active duty with an Honorable discharge;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged;
  • You served 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged for a service-connected disability;
  • You’re a dependent transferred benefits;
  • You’re a Fry Scholar;
  • You’re an active-duty service member who qualifies at the 100% level as of August 2022;
  • You are a spouse using transferred GI Bill benefits.

Yellow Ribbon benefits are limited depending on the school; you may find the program is administered at your institution of higher learning on a first-come, first-served basis, and applying early may be best.

Veteran Readiness and Employment (Chapter 31)

Veterans who have a service-connected disability that limits the ability to hold a job or seek employment may qualify for the Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Readiness and Employment program also known as Chapter 31 benefits or VR&E. You can apply for VR&E through the VA official site. Typically this benefit is for veterans but under certain circumstances, you may qualify for VR&E while still on active duty as we’ll examine below.

To qualify for VA VR&E benefits and services, you must not have received a Dishonorable discharge, and you have a VA disability rating of at least 10%.

In some cases you may have a time limit to use this VA benefit program; if you left active duty before January 1 2013 you have 12 years to use VR&E benefits from either your separation date or the date you received your first VA disability rating.

Your VR&E eligibility may qualify for an extension if you have what the VA defines as a “serious employment handicap”

VR&E applicants who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, do not have a time limit to use VR&E benefits. Furthermore, you may be eligible for VR&E benefits and services while still on active duty if at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You have a 20% or higher pre-discharge VA disability rating known as a memorandum rating and are due to retire or separate;
  • You’re waiting to be discharged because of a service-connected medical issue that happened on active duty.

VR&E Services

You may be entitled to the following VR&E services under the program:

  • A job skills/interests evaluation
  • Professional or vocational counseling for employment
  • Employment services such as job training and resume development
  • Special employer incentives
  • VR&E “job accommodations”
  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeships
  • Volunteer or non-paid work experiences
  • Post-secondary education and training
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Medical referrals
  • Independent living services

If you’re participating in a VR&E program and you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill (you only need a single day of remaining entitlement to qualify for this) you may be offered the GI Bill subsistence rate instead of the Chapter 31 subsistence allowance rate. This is true when you have at least one day of remaining GI Bill entitlement left AND you are still within any applicable GI Bill eligibility period. Expect to be required to “officially choose” the GI Bill subsistence rate to take advantage of this benefit.

Using VR&E benefits does not count against your GI Bill benefits.

You can apply for VR&E benefits in person at a VA office, by calling the VA, or you can use a Veteran Service Organization such as the DAV, AmVets, etc. to help you apply.

Educational and Career Counseling (VA Chapter 36 Benefits)

VA Chapter 36 benefits, also known as Personalized Career Planning and Guidance offer help and resources for veterans who qualify for VA education benefits.

If you have left active duty within the last 12 months you may qualify for career counseling, educational counseling to help you select a school, and readjustment counseling to help you transition from the military to civilian life. You can also get help with your resume and career goals using Chapter 36 benefits.

You can apply for these benefits in person at a VA office, online using VA Form 28-8832, or you can apply online at the VA official site via Login.gov

Once you apply for Chapter 36 benefits, the VA will contact you to set up a meeting with a VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor “to find out if you have an employment handicap and if you’re eligible for VR&E benefits and services” according to the official site..

The VA definition of an employment handicap includes conditions where “your service-connected disability limits your ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment” that does not make the condition worse and is in line with career goals, skills, etc.

Other VA Educational Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of other educational assistance including the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship which can help extend Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits if you are working toward a STEM degree or a teacher’s certification.

There is also a program called Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)  which offers benefits to help you start or continue a high-tech career if you qualify for the GI Bill. There is an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill called the National Call to Service program offering alternative VA education benefits to those who completed boot camp and any required advanced training and then “continued to serve on active duty for 15 months in a military occupational specialty designated by the Secretary of Defense”.

In addition to that requirement, applicants must also have served an additional enlistment or commission (service commitment times may vary) OR agreed to serve an extra two years in the Selected Reserve on active status.

If you qualify for the National Call To Service Program you may be eligible for ONE of the following benefits:

  • A cash bonus of $5,000,
  • Repayment of a qualifying student loan up to $18,000, or
  • Educational assistance equal to the 3-year monthly rate of the Montgomery GI Bill paid for 12 months, or
  • Educational assistance is up to 50% of the ”less-than-3-year monthly MGIB rate” according to the VA. This is payable for 36 months.

You can apply for these benefits via Login.gov. This is a program administered by the VA on behalf of the Department of Defense.

 

 

 

2022-2023 GI Bill Tuition Rates Out Now!

If you are planning to take courses in the Fall 2022 term, then you need to know how much your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will pay. The 2022-2023 GI Bill rates are the best place to start.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) just released the maximum tuition and fee rates for the upcoming academic year, so check it out.

Increase In GI Bill Max Tuition & Fees

The VA will use the maximum entitlement charge amounts for any training taken under the Post-9/11 GI Bill beginning on or after August 1, 2022. The following rates are effective until July 31, 2023:

Post-9/11 GI Bill Maximum Tuition & Fee Amounts

Type of School Actual Net Cost of Tuition & Fees, Not to Exceed
Public In-State / Resident Charge
Private & Foreign $26,381.37
Flight $15,075.05
Correspondence $12,813.78

Keep in mind, if you are attending a public Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) as a non-resident student, and the tuition is more expensive than the annual cap listed in the table, then you may be eligible for extra payment under the Yellow Ribbon program. The same applies to non-resident students at private IHLs.

Additionally, you may qualify for in-state tuition rates if you live in the state where the school is located. Your formal state of residence does not preclude you from receiving in-state tuition in this situation.

Post-9/11 Entitlement Charge Amount for Tests

Licensing & Certification Tests Entitlement will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test relative to the rate of $2,200.96 for one month. The maximum reimbursable amount for licensing and certification tests is $2,000.
National Tests Entitlement will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test relative to the rate of $2,200.96 for one month. There is no maximum reimbursable amount for national tests.

Additional Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Military Housing Allowance (MHA)

Don’t forget, you may be eligible to receive a Monthly Housing Allowance while using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The amount you receive depends on a number of factors specific to you, so the best way to find your housing rate is to use the CollegeRecon BAH Calculator.

Book Stipend

You could receive up to $1,000 for books and supplies each year. The actual amount you receive is based on your enrollment.

Rural Benefit

You may be eligible to receive a one-time $500 payment if you are relocating from a highly rural area, and either:

  1. Physically relocate at least 500 miles to attend school, or
  2. Travel by air to attend school of no other land-based transportation exists.

Plan For Success

Planning is key when it comes to successfully completing your chosen academic program. Knowing how much your benefit will pay allows you to know how far you can go.

Keep in mind, these are just the limits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill payments. It does not factor in any scholarships or grants that you may be able to use.

 

 

 

Lesser-Known GI Bill Benefits

Lesser-Known GI Bill Benefits

Entrepreneurship Training

Want to start a business? Already have your own business? You may qualify to use GI Bill benefits for training to become business owners or entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship training is offered exclusively through the Small Business Administration.

What kind of training is offered?

  • How to access capital
  • Development and exchange of new technologies
  • Improved business planning
  • Improved business strategy
  • Operations
  • Financial management
  • Personnel administration
  • Marketing
  • Export assistance
  • Sales
  • Growth and expansion
  • Management improvement
  • Increased productivity
  • Innovation

Am I Eligible for this Benefit?

Eligible candidates must qualify for education benefits through one of these programs:

Unfortunately, dependents are not available for this entrepreneurship training benefit even if they qualify for the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program.

Please note that the VA only pays for programs offered by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Individual courses must be specifically approved for VA purposes to use benefits.

To locate course offerings near you or view training opportunities on the web contact the Small Business Development Center directly. On the web at http://www.sba.gov/sbdc/ or by phone at 800-8 ASK SBA. Then contact VA at 888-442-4551 to see what courses are approved for (or can be approved for) VA purposes.

Flight Training

Use your VA education benefits to advance your pilot qualifications!

Am I Eligible for this Benefit?

You may be eligible for flight training benefits if you meet all of these requirements:

  • You qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill, and
  • You have a private pilot’s license, and
  • You have a second-class medical certificate valid for second-class privileges or;
  • You have a first-class medical certificate and want to pursue an Airline Transport Pilot certificate

Flight training benefits are not available for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA).

What Flight Training Benefits Are Available?

This depends on a few factors, most notably the VA benefit program being used.

  • Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty – Eligible students receive a pay-back of 60% of the approved fees the flight school charges.
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill- Use of this educational entitlement has many factors to considered including the student’s level of eligibility (i.e. the percent of benefits eligible for based on length of service) and how much entitlement the student has remaining (for school or training). Keep in mind that students can also apply for additional funds to cover tuition and fees above the yearly limit through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program here.

For the Post-9/11 GI Bill, if the student is enrolled in:

  • A degree program that consists of flight training at a public college or university, students receive up to the full in-state cost of tuition and fees (depending on the level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). A monthly housing allowance and money to help buy books and supplies may also be provided!
  • A degree program that consists of flight training at a private college or university, students are eligible for the net cost of tuition and fees up to a yearly limit (depending on the level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). A housing allowance and money to help buy books and supplies may also be provided!
  • A vocational program at a stand-alone pilot school (Part 141), students are eligible for the net cost of training up to a yearly limit (depending on the level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). Students in these programs are not eligible for a housing allowance or money to help buy books and supplies.

What kinds of flight training can I receive?

Students can earn qualifications for:

  • Rotary wing
  • B747-400
  • Dual engine
  • Flight engineer

Veteran Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)

The VET TEC program is available for students seeking to gain computer experience, whether beginning or advancing their career in a high-technology industry. The VET TEC program matches students with a qualified and approved training provider to help students develop their high-tech skills.

With VET TEC, students can receive tuition for a full-time high-tech training program and money for housing during training (not applicable to those on active duty).

What Types of Training Does VET TEC Cover?

Students can receive training in:

  • Computer software
  • Computer programming
  • Data processing
  • Information science
  • Media applications

Correspondence Training

Correspondence training (coursework completed by mail, online, or by some other device) may be a good option for you if you want to take classes from home and/or if you live far from schools with the desired offerings.

Correspondence classes are offered in a wide variety of interests from Wastewater Management to Creative Writing. Students may find that many correspondence courses are conditions of employment or credentialed courses that will open up a variety of local area job opportunities.

Am I eligible for this benefit?

Veterans and Qualified Dependents are able to use this GI Bill education benefit.

Eligible students will have the full cost of their correspondence classes paid back if using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at an in-state school. If using other GI Bill programs, students will be paid back for 55% of the approved costs.

Foreign programs

If you love living abroad and/or have found the perfect school for overseas, you may be able to use your VA benefits to pay for a foreign school!

Can I attend any foreign school?

Typically, the VA will accept degrees from schools in foreign countries that are similar to degrees granted by accredited U.S. colleges and universities.

Make certain to email to federal.approvals@va.gov to request information about foreign program approval. Check to see if the school and program has already been approved; if not already approved, the school (not the student) can request approval.

Make certain the school and program are approved before registering for classes or you’ll have to pay all costs at the school, including tuition and fees!

Am I eligible for this benefit?

You may be able to use your education benefits if you meet all of these requirements.

  • Student is eligible for (or already receiving) VA educational assistance as a Veteran, service member, reservist, or qualified dependent, and
  • The foreign program is approved by the VA, and
  • The program is at a foreign institute of higher learning where students earn a standard associate degree or higher (or a degree of equal value).

Independent and Distance Learning

Students can use the GI Bill for independent and distance learning online. If students are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while taking only distance-learning courses, they’ll also receive a housing allowance based on 50% of the national average!

Non-College Degree Programs

Use the GI Bill to pay for a wide variety of training programs including HVAC repair, welding, truck driving, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training, and barber school.

Am I eligible for this benefit?

Students may be eligible for non-college degree education benefits through the GI Bill if they meet both of these requirements:

  • Students qualify for the GI Bill, and
  • Students enroll (or plan to enroll) in a non-degree program at an approved school

This benefit is available for, Veterans, service members, and qualified dependents.

How much money will I get?

The amount of educational funds available depends on several factors including which GI Bill program is being used and what school is  being attended. Students are paid at the end of each month for the hours spent training. In addition, students are given a monthly housing allowance based on the location of the school and up to $83 monthly for books and supplies.

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill: for training offered at non-degree schools, the VA pays the in-state tuition rate and fees up to the national maximum.
  • Other GI Bill programs: the VA pays a monthly rate that depends on the specific non-degree program and student’s length of active service.

 

 

 

How to Switch From Montgomery GI Bill to Post 9/11

From the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill

Have you considered moving from Montgomery GI Bill to Post 911? It it not a complicated process, but there are some things you need to know beforehand.

From MGIB to Post 9/11

To select one benefit program over another, the process is as simple as filling out the Application for VA Education Benefits, or VA 22-1990.

Under Part II, or “Education Benefits Being Applied For”, you’ll see all the current GI Bill programs available. The first box is Chapter 33 – Post 911 GI Bill, and it is this box you must select to begin the transfer.

In the same box, there is a statement indicating that, if you are eligible for more than one GI Bill program, you must read and understand the consequences of your choice.

The Cost of Switching the GI Bill to Post 9/11

Before submitting your VA 22-1990, you must acknowledge the following:

  • You are not permitted to receive more than a total of 48 months of entitlements under two or more of the GI Bill programs.
  • If you elect Chapter 33 (Post 911) in lieu of Chapter 30 (MGIB), the months of entitlement under Chapter 33 will be limited to the number of months of remaining entitlement under Chapter 30 on the effective date of your selection.
  • You will not receive the MGIB “Kicker” under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, unless you were eligible for the kicker at the time you applied, AND you relinquished that benefit for the Chapter 33 program.
  • When you select the effective date of transfer on VA form 22-1990, you must understand that benefits for education and training under Chapter 33 are not payable prior to that date.

So, in a nutshell, you are terminating the MGIB and its benefits in exchange for the Post 911 GI Bill and its benefits.

See Also: 8 Tips for Using the GI Bill

Eligibility for Multiple GI Bill Programs

Every service member is entitled to at least one GI Bill program. However, there are some veterans who are eligible for multiple programs. Those who serve on active duty for a few years and then transition to the reserves are eligible for benefits under the Chapter 30/33 and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606).

Another example is an active duty service member who served for a period of time before September 11, 2001. If their service continued after that date, then they would be eligible for both the Chapter 30 and the Chapter 33 program.

However, since there is a cap on the duration of education benefits, 48 months, making the switch from one program to another will not extend your benefits. Additionally, you only use one benefit program at a time.

Reasons for Switching

Because there is a cap to the total amount of benefit a student veteran can receive, it may seem that all the GI Bill programs are mostly the same. This isn’t the case, as there are some very distinct differences.

One of the biggest benefits of the Post 911 GI Bill is it grants the ability to transfer the education benefits to a spouse or dependent child. This has been a game changer for many students who may have never been able to afford a college education.

Another big benefit of the Post 911 program is that it also pays out a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to the student, separate from the tuition payments that are sent directly to the school. These extra funds are designed to help pay for housing so students are not compelled to work each semester just to pay rent. It grants a small financial relief that helps them focus on their training.

Montgomery GI Bill to Post 9/11

Regardless of your reasons for switching, the process is not difficult. Just fill out the VA 22-1990, and then apply online. The average time it takes for the VA to process your claim is currently 30 days.

 

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More GI Bill Benefits for Guard and Reservists

UPDATE: The GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 did not progress to the Senate or to the President’s desk for a signature before this Congress finished business for 2022. What follows is the original article preserved here for the record.

The GI Bill Parity Act Will Bring More Benefits to Members of the National Guard and Reserves

Good news for members of the National Guard and the Reserves. On Wednesday, January 12th, the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 was passed in the House, 287-135. This was introduced by the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity with the Chair, Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA).

Why Is This  Important?

Over the last few years, the National Guard and Reserves have been used at higher than normal levels. They have been called up for COVID-19 issues, protests, national disasters, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the January 6th Insurrection, and more.

Even though they have been called up more often, they do not accrue the same GI Bill benefits as their active duty counterparts. This act would rectify that and make every day in uniform count toward GI Bill benefits. Allowing the National Guard and Reserves to be able to earn benefits from all time served, not just select time.

Supporters of the GI Bill Parity Act

The following organizations support this bill:

  • The American Legion
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Student Veterans of America
  • The National Guard Association of the U.S.
  • Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the U.S.
  • Veterans Education Project
  • Reserve Officers Association

“National Guard and Reserve servicemembers have stepped up time and time again to serve our nation when we needed them—especially over the past two years—but right now, they don’t have equitable access to the GI Bill benefits they have earned. If these servicemembers can do their part day in and day out while holding down civilian jobs and squeezing in time to take care of their families, then the least we can do is ensure each day they spend in uniform counts towards their benefits,” said Chairman Takano, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

Currently, the National Guard on Title 32 orders won’t count towards GI Bill benefits unless they are in support of a presidentially declared national emergency. Title 10 orders do count.

“Members of the National Guard and Reserve Component have risked their lives on the front lines of this pandemic, administering aid and protecting the Capitol on a training status,” said Veterans Education Project (VEP) Legislative Director Donald Franklin. “These brave men and women are long overdue the benefits befitting their service.”

What’s Next?

This still needs to be passed by the Senate, then go on to be signed by the President. If this is able to go through, it will be able to help out a lot of National Guard and Reserve members earn the benefits that they deserve when they step up to help this country.

 

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Online Students Qualified For Extended GI Bill Benefits with REMOTE Act

Editor’s note: this article has been updated in several places.

REMOTE Act Allowed Veterans to Study Online, Receive Full GI Bill Benefits

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Congress extended the GI Bill protections for student veterans that were still required to take remote classes due to COVID-19 restrictions. This move was designed to help veterans attending college, and who had no choice but to take remote classes due to the pandemic.

Before COVID, veterans taking classes remotely received half of the Post 9-11 GI Bill housing benefit. In 2020, they allowed veteran students who had to go to school remotely to receive the full amount. This helped fill in the financial gap when students who were normally in school traditionally needed to start schooling online. This was set to expire on December 21st.

On December 8th, The U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Mike Levin’s (D-CA) Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) act. This was introduced in October with Rep. David Trone (D-MD) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairmen Mark Takano (D-CA). On December 15th, the act was passed by the Senate and is now awaiting the signature by the President.

**UPDATE: VA.gov reports, “On December 21, 2021, President Biden signed the “Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions Act” or the “REMOTE Act” into law.”

The move extended these benefits from expiring from December 21st to June of 2022.

“At a time when we are trying to keep veterans housed and encouraging them to pursue higher education, the last thing we can afford is to let these protections expire and risk derailing their studies or, even worse, forcing them out of their homes. I’m encouraged to see our bill pass the House today to protect student veterans’ benefits and I’m optimistic we can get it to President Biden’s desk soon.” – Rep. Levin.

The American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America (DAV), National Association of Veterans Program Administrators (NAVPA), Veterans Education Success (VES), as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) endorsed this legislation.

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Survivors & Dependents VA Education Benefits

VA Education Benefits for Survivors & Dependents

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides education benefits to dependents and survivors of our nation’s heroes.

The Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program, also known as Chapter 35 Benefits, can be used to pay for college, vocational schools, certification tests, and apprenticeships, among other things.

Eligibility for Chapter 35 Education Benefits

You may be eligible for Chapter 35 benefits if you are the spouse or child of a service member who meets any of the following criteria.

The service member:

  • Died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001
  • Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force
  • Was detained by force while in the line of duty by a foreign government or power
  • Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability.

Additionally, you may be eligible for VA education benefits under Chapter 35 if you’re the child or spouse of a Veteran and one of the following items is true.

The Veteran:

  • Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability

For the Child of a Veteran or Service Member

The following information applies of you are the child of a Veteran or Service Member described above:

  • You can receive benefits between the ages of 18 and 26, but there are exceptions.
  • You can be either married or unmarried.
  • If you’re over 18 and using DEA, you can NOT get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the VA at the same time.
  • If you join the military, you cannot use this benefit while on active duty.
  • When using the benefit after leaving the service, you must not have a dishonorable discharge.
  • While military service can extend your eligibility for this benefit, the increase does not extend past your 31st birthday.

For the Spouse of a Veteran or Service Member

The following information applies if you are the spouse of a Veteran or service member described above.

  • Your benefits start on the date of your determined eligibility, or on the date of the Veteran’s death. The benefits last 10 years.
  • If the VA rated the Veteran as “permanently and totally disabled”, with an effective date that is years after the Veteran’s discharge, you will qualify for benefits for 20 years from the effective date.
  • If the service member died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
  • You can get both DIC and DEA benefits simultaneously.

Moreover, if you are a dependent or spouse who does NOT meet the above criteria, there may still be other VA education benefits you could receive, especially if the service member transferred any portion of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to you.

RELATED: New Law Guarantees In-State Tuition for Survivors & Dependents

Chapter 35 Benefit Details

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, some great benefits may be applicable to your education situation. You stand to receive any of the following benefits:

  1. Education and training
  2. Money for tuition
  3. A housing stipend
  4. Money for books and supplies

The VA will send you a monthly payment that can help cover the costs associated with your education. This can include college courses, career training, education counseling, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.

In most cases, you can receive these education benefits for up to 36 months.

Applying for Chapter 35 VA Benefits

There are two GI Bill programs that offer assistance to survivors and dependents of Veterans. For both of them you can Apply Online, or fill out a Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-5490) and mail it to the VA regional office where you want to go to school.

Find a VA Regional Office near your school.

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

The Fry Scholarship is for children and spouses of:

  • Active-duty service members who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, or
  • Members of the Selected Reserve who died from a service-connected disability on or after September 11, 2001

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program

The DEA program offers education and training to eligible dependents of Veterans who:

  • Are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or
  • Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition

You may qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and the DEA program, but you can only use one of them. Once you decide which to use, you can’t change to the other program.

Comparing the DEA to the Fry Scholarship

 

DEA Program Fry Scholarship
How are payments made?

The benefit payment is sent directly to the student at the most current rate. Currently, the monthly payment for full-time payment is $1,265.

How are payments made?

Tuition and fees are paid directly to the school, which covers full in-state tuition and up to $25,162.14 per year at private or foreign schools.

The monies for books and supplies are paid directly to the student, up to $1,000 per year.

The monthly housing allowance is paid directly to the student at the local Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for an E-5 with dependents. Online students get half the national BAH average.

Duration of Benefits for Spouses:

20 years from the service members date of death if they died on active duty. Or 10 years from the date of qualification after the Veteran passes.

Duration of Benefits for Spouses:

There is no time limit to use these benefits, but they will lose them if they remarry.

Duration of Benefits for Children:

A child may use the benefits between the ages of 18 and 26.

Duration of Benefits for Children:

A child who becomes eligible on or after January 1, 2013 has no time limit to use the benefits.

MAX months of Benefits? 

45 months of the first use was before August 1, 2018. 

36 months if the first use of benefits was after August 1, 2018.

MAX months of Benefits?

36 months.

Spouse Eligible for DIC and Education Benefits?

Yes.

Spouse Eligible for DIC and Education Benefits?

Yes.

Programs Covered:
  • College, business, technical, or vocational programs
  • Certification tests
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Tutorial assistance
  • Work Study
Programs Covered:
  • College, business, technical, or vocational programs
  • Certification tests
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-job training
  • Tutorial Assistance
  • Work Study
  • Vocational Flight Training

Additionally, it is worth noting that only the Fry Scholarship can be used to pay for Flight Training.

Next Steps for Survivors and Dependents

After the loss of your Veteran or service member, your life will never be the same. You’ve endured a tragedy that few can comprehend.

Even so, to honor your loved one, take full advantage of the educational assistance available to you as a surviving spouse or child through the VA’s Chapter 35 benefits.

Your life can and will go on. Apply for Chapter 35 Benefits today!

(Image courtesy of David Kay via Shutterstock)

 

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Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) & Dependent Payments Increase Oct 2021

For Veterans using the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), on October 1, 2021, your benefit payments are set to increase by an average of 2.6% over the previous year’s rates.

MGIB Active Duty – Chapter 30

In 2020, the rate for a full-time student was $2,122, while a half-time student received $1061. The new rates for 2021 are $2150 for full-time students, and $1075 for those veterans attending half-time training. That’s an additional $28 and $14, respectively.

View the full 2022 Active Duty MGIB rates. The rates listed above apply to students attending institutes of higher learning. If your training takes another format, review the chart for more information.

 

MGIB Selected Reserves – Chapter 1606

Beginning 1 October, those full-time student veterans using the MGIB Selected Reserves will see an increase in your monthly benefit to $407, a $10 increase. Half-time students will see their benefits move up to $203.

View the full 2022 Selected Reserve MGIB rates. Again, the rates highlighted above are for students attending colleges or universities. The rate charts will also show other training formats and their respective increases, if any.

 

Survivors and Dependents Under Chapter 35

For those of you who may be using the Survivors’ and Dependents’ benefits given under Chapter 35, your full-time institutional rate will be $1298 beginning 1 October. That’s a bump of $33 per month. Half-time rates will be $753 per month.

View the full 2022 Chapter 35 chart for survivors and dependents.

RELATED: VA Benefits for Family Members, Survivors, and Caretakers

MGIB Buy-up & REAP Rates

If you participated in the MGIB $600 Buy-up program, check out the $600 buy-up rate table to see any changes that may apply to your monthly benefit payments.

RELATED: Military Benefits Changes for 2021

Additional Information

If you’re looking for specific information on your current or future rates, or even your eligibility for education benefits, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs by calling 888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551), between the hours of 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday thru Friday.

If you’re calling from overseas, use 001-918-781-5678 to get connected to a customer service representative.

RELATED: 2021 Military Retiree and VA Disability Pay Increase

(Image courtesy of Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock.com)

 

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Post 9/11 GI Bill Recipients Must Verify Enrollment

Post 9/11 GI Bill Recipients Can Verify Their Courses Via Text

With the new 2021-2022 school year, there has been a change with the verification process for those who are receiving the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Those who are receiving Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) and/or Kicker payments will need to verify their enrollment in order to continue to receive payments. They will need to verify that they have remained enrolled in their courses or training each month. This won’t be a one-time verification.

See Also: VA GI Bill Upgrade Makes Life Easier

The New Verification Process

This requirement is only for those receiving the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and doesn’t affect programs such as VET TEC, DEA, VEAP, or the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship. Those who are receiving MGIB (Montgomery GI Bill) have already been required to verify.

Those going to a Non-College degree (NCD) facility will need to have already started doing this, as of August 1st. All other Post 9/11 GI Bill students will need to start this later this year.

Opt-in for Text Verification

The verification process will be relatively easy, as you can do so via text message. If you’ve opted to receive text verification, then you will receive texts from the number “44354“.

To opt in, students with a US-based mobile number should receive a text message informing them that they’ve been registered for enrollment verification. This happens after you’ve enrolled in an approved program. Within a day or two after that first text message, students will again receive a text with the following message:

“Post-9/11 GI Bill housing and kicker payments now require monthly enrollment verification. Would you like to submit yours via text? Please reply YES or NO.”

If you choose to opt-in, reply with YES. Keep in mind that the message link will expire after 14 days.

Using Text Verification

Once you’ve opted in to receive verification text messages, you will receive monthly messages from the VA (44354). The message will be:

“Did you remain enrolled in your courses in MONTH YEAR as certified? Please reply YES or NO. If you have dropped all your courses, you must reply NO.”

If you do not respond within six (6) days, the message will expire. If that happens, you must call the Education Call Center at 1.888.GIBILL.1 (1.888.442.4551) to verify your enrollment. If you are overseas, you will need to call 001-918-781-5678 to verify enrollment.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) explains the verification process in more detail via their VA Verification Enrollment infographic.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Using the GI Bill

Opt-in for Email Verification

If you opted out of text message verification, you will automatically be enrolled in email verification using the email address on file with the VA.

You will receive verification emails from the address “do-not-reply@notifications.va.gov” with the subject line “Confirmation: You’ve been enrolled into VA’s email verification!”

Using Email Verification

On the last day of each month, you will receive an email with the subject line: “Action Required: Verify Your Monthly Enrollment”. Within that email, select “Yes, my enrollment is the same” to verify your enrollment.

You will then be taken to a confirmation page thanking you for verifying. A response is required within 14 days, after which time the link will expire. If that occurs, you must call the Education Call Center to complete enrollment verification.

Telephone Verification

If you are unable to receive text messages or emails to complete your verification, call the Education Call Center (1.888.GIBILL.1) and ask a representative to verify your enrollment for you. Please note that you may have to wait on hold for a while.

Contact VA for Assistance

Changes like this can be difficult to navigate. If you are having problems with the new process, contact the VA’s Education Call Center by dialing 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

You should also ensure that they have the most current contact information for you, i.e. email address, phone number, and mailing address. Don’t let your payments lag because of this new GI Bill verification process.

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How to Pay for College as a Veteran

In America today, there are more opportunities for veterans seeking college education than at any time in history.  From education benefits earned through your service, to tuition assistance offered through some states, achieving your education goals is within your reach.  Read on to learn more about what is available to you.

Veterans Affairs Education and Training Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers education benefits to veterans, service members, and their qualified family members. These benefits include paying for tuition, assistance in finding a training program, or even career counseling.

The GI Bill

The GI Bill is one of the most cherished benefits that veterans have when leaving the service. Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped veterans pay for most or all of their education expenses. There are a few different versions of the GI Bill, and you may fall under more than one of them.

The Montgomery GI Bill

When I joined the Army in the mid-1990s, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was the education benefit most soldiers selected. It required a deduction of $100 per month for the first 12 months of service, and then continued service for at least two years to confirm your eligibility.

This version of the GI Bill is being phased out and replaced by another one, but it is still an option available to you if you had your pay reduced during your first year of service.

There are four categories within which you could qualify for this education benefit.

You may get up to 36 months of education benefits under the MGIB. The amount you get depends on the length of your service, the type of program you’re enrolled in, and your eligibility category.

The MGIB Selected Reserve

This program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits. It was designed for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard Reserve, the Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard.

There are a few eligibility requirements for those veterans seeking to take advantage of this benefit.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill helps a new generation of veterans pay for school or job training. It covers tuition and fees and provides money for housing, books and supplies. Unlike other education benefits, the Post-9/11 GI Bill does not expire if your service ended after January 1, 2013.

It is possible that you may be eligible for the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills. When I joined the service, the MGIB was the only option, so I had my pay reduced each month for the first year.

In 2012, I received word from my command that I had to pick either the MGIB or transfer my benefit to the newer Post-9/11 version. I opted to hold onto the MGIB because I’d already paid into it. I’d also participated in the $600 Buy-Up Program, which was designed to give me more money each month through the GI Bill payments.

Shortly after retiring in 2014, I found out that I was eligible for both benefits, but I was only able to use one at a time. Since the MGIB only granted 36 months of benefit, an additional year under the Post-9/11 GI Bill was authorized to me. Using them together, I was able to complete my degree program.

RELATED: Forever GI Bill

Other Opportunities to Pay for College

Yellow Ribbon Schools

If you have the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the If you have the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program may help pay tuition for a degree or training program. The amount available to you depends on the school, the degree type, and the academic program you’re considering.

This is one program that can make your education benefit last longer, go further, and get you more training.

Please go here for a list of Yellow Ribbon Schools which may help pay tuition for a degree or training program. The amount available to you depends on the school, as well as the degree type.

Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

This scholarship allows some Veterans and dependents in high-demand fields to extend their Post-9/11 benefit. The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship could net you up to 9 months, or $30,000, of added benefits.

Some of the high-demand fields covered by this scholarship include:

  • Biological or biomedical science
  • Computer science and IT programs
  • Various Engineering fields
  • Health care or related field
  • Mathematics or Statistics
  • Medical Residency (undergraduate only)

If you’re enrolled in one of these or other high-demand career fields, do not pass up this opportunity. Here’s a PDF of the full list eligible STEM degree programs.

Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)

If you seek computer experience to start or advance your career in the IT industry, the VET TEC program could be your best bet.

If you meet the VET TEC eligibility requirements, you could get training in one of the following exciting career fields:

  • Computer software development
  • Data Processing
  • Information Science
  • Media Applications

Veteran Readiness and Employment

If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work, or even one that prevents you from working, the Veteran Readiness and Employment may benefit you.

This program helps you explore employment options and address your training needs to ready yourself for employment.

This program has multiple tracks based on your future goals, but one of them does offer assistance with training and education.

The Employment Through Long-Term Services track can help you find training and education that can help you transition into a different field of employment.

Determine your eligibility, then apply for VR&E benefits.

National Call to Service Program

You may qualify for the National Call to Service program if you performed a period of national service. This program allows you to choose an education benefit as an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill.

The eligibility requirements are very specific:

  • You completed Initial Entry Training
  • You served for 15 months in a military occupational specialty
  • Without a break in service, you served a period of active duty as determined by the Secretary of Defense, OR
  • You served a period of 24 months in active status while in the Selected Reserve
  • AND, without a break in service, you served the remainder of your obligated service on active duty, in the reserves, in the Individual Ready Reserves, or in AmeriCorps

If you meet the eligibility requirements, then you could receive:

  • A cash bonus of $5,000, OR
  • Repayment of qualifying student loans not more than $18,000, OR
  • Educational assistance equal to the 3-year monthly MGIB rate for 12 months, OR
  • Educational assistance equal to 50% of the less-than 3-year MGIB rate for 36 months

The Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

Under this program, you may be able to continue your education by using part of your military pay to help cover school costs.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for VEAP, then you could secure money for tuition at VA-approved schools.

Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program

The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) offers education and training for high-demand jobs to veterans who are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VRRAP covers education programs which are approved under the GI Bill and VET TEC programs that lead to high-demand jobs. These programs could include associate degrees, non-college degrees, and certificate programs.

For the purposes of this program, the Department of Labor (DOL) determines which jobs are considered high-demand.

If you’re eligible for VRRAP, you can get:

  • Up to 12 months of tuition and fees, AND
  • A monthly housing allowance based on Post-9/11 rates

Please note, at the time that you apply for VRRAP, you can NOT be eligible for any of the following benefits:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • MGIB
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
  • Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

States Offering Education Benefits for Veterans

In addition to the federal benefits covered above, many states offer education benefits to veterans. Some even cover the cost of tuition if certain criteria are met.

Conclusion

If you are a veteran and you are looking for ways to pay for education and training, there are so many programs out there to assist you.

Please look into any and all of these programs to get your journey started.

 

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Howard University Now Offering Loans to Veterans

Howard University is now offering student veterans an interest-free loan of $3,000 after an investigation revealed that the prestigious D.C. university lost its accreditation.

Students are required to repay the loan by December 14, 2021, which is the end of the fall semester. However, some students may not be able to pay the loan back if they can’t get their GI Bill benefits.

If Howard University is not able to accept GI Bill payments, then the veteran students will not receive the stipends they need to pay for rent or books. These students may have to find another school.

RELATED: VA Suspends Education Benefits at these 5 Schools

Howard University Loses Accreditation

In April, Howard learned that its ability to receive GI Bill payments would diminish after the State Approving Agency (SAA) for the District of Columbia revoked it. The revocation took effect on June 15th. The sixty day window allowing the university to rectify the situation closed on August 15th, just one week ago.

Each SAA has the authority to audit a school to ensure they comply with standing laws and guidelines. The SAAs also ensure that the VA’s quality standards are met by these institutions receiving GI Bill funds. A Military.com investigation revealed that the school had lost its accreditation after a series of preventable clerical errors.

RELATED: Why College Accreditation Matters for Military and Veterans

Consequences for Howard University

When a school loses its GI Bill credentials, it directly impacts the veteran by rendering their primary source of financial support useless. A suspension does not happen often, especially with top level schools. This indicates that there are systemic issues with how the university operates. 

The university is taking extreme measures to survive this blunder, even if those measures are not in the best interest of the students. A spokesman for Howard University blames the VA for instituting new rules last year. Not surprisingly, the school official was unable to report any of the changes that he claims caused these issues.

Even so, rule and regulation changes are common in the higher education game. What is uncommon is for an institute of higher learning to drop the ball on such a grand scale.

RELATED: GI Bill For-Profit Colleges: Issues and Problems

Who Is Impacted

As of right now, only new students attempting to use their VA benefits are impacted. However, the SAA could expand the penalties on the school, which would impact returning students who had already been using their GI Bill to pay education at Howard.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

(Image courtesy of Eric Glenn via Shutterstock.com)

 

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This VA GI Bill Upgrade Will Make Life a Bit Easier

Modernizing the VA’s GI Bill Platform to Go Digital

Ever get frustrated with the VA’s GI Bill platform? You aren’t alone. 

The US Department of Veterans Affairs was awarded a contract in March to transform the GI Bill digital platform. This upgrade will improve education benefits and customer service delivery to the nearly one million students it serves each year. 

This new platform will be called the Digital GI Bill and will enable the VA to call, email, text, and chat with GI Beneficiaries. The platform will also grant the VBA (Veterans Benefits Administration) to have immediate access to beneficiary records and respond to questions from colleges and universities. 

This sounds like this change will make the VA’s GI Bill process easier and keep up with modern technology. 

The VA is using $243 million that they received under the CARES Act to support this overhaul. The process will take a few years and the VA will be seeking feedback from students, schools, and partners to make sure the correct needs are met when pursuing their academic and vocational goals. You can read more about this on the VA website.

 

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Proposed Legislation Could Increase GI Bill Benefits for Guard, Reservists

Increased GI Bill Benefits for National Guard and Reservists with Proposed Legislation

In mid-March, the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 was introduced, which would make it easier for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers to accumulate GI Bill benefits.

“House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Vice Chair Mike Levin (D-CA) and Chair Mark Takano (D-CA) reintroduced the bipartisan” bill on March 11. It was originally introduced to Congress in February of 2020, but referred back to the Veterans’ Affairs committee. The bill aims to create uniformity in GI Bill benefits for Guard and Reservists “who increasingly conduct similar training and missions as other servicemembers, but do not receive equal benefits.” More specifically, the bill expands the benefit eligibility of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to count each day that any activated servicemember is paid and in uniform; this specification of each paid day in service should help eliminate “confusion over which types of duty allow Guard troops to qualify for federal education benefits.”

Current Service Requirements

Currently, National Guard members are required to serve 90 days (at least 30 days of continuous service) to reach eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Automatic qualification is granted to Purple Heart recipients. While the average Guardsman does serve around 60 days during a normal year, without any missions or deployments, one “day in the Guard doesn’t always equal one day of service.” Required weekend and annual training does not count toward benefit eligibility.

“Fairness to the way GI Bill benefits are earned…”

Of the intent behind the bill, Rep. Levin released a statement saying, “This bill will bring some basic fairness to the way GI Bill benefits are earned and provide Guard and Reserve members with the benefits they deserve. I look forward to advancing this bill on behalf of the thousands of Guard members who [have recently] defended our Capitol and many others who have sacrificed for our country.”

Since 9/11, the role of the Reserve Component has changed drastically. Originally created as a strategic division, they have now evolved into an integral and operational part of U.S. defense. “Servicemembers from the Active and Reserve Components often train and serve alongside each other… but do not receive equal benefits.” While this alone is enough support for a bill of this nature, the most recent catalyst for its reintroduction came after the announcement “that 2,300 National Guard troops [would] remain deployed in Washington, D.C., at least until May 23, 2021,” a response to the recent insurgence on our nation’s capital.

Rep. Takano released a statement highlighting, “Time and time again, through natural disasters, global pandemics, and threats to our democracy, our National Guard and Reserve members have answered the call to serve. But despite taking on the same risks and doing the same jobs as their Active Duty counterparts, these servicemembers don’t have access to the same benefits. That’s not right.”

Many Guard and Reservists are in agreement

And the masses agree with Rep. Takano. One Reddit user said of this disparity, “deploying to a combat zone for at least six months should qualify a guardsman for 100% GI Bill. It’s outrageous that people who are basically in a jobs program doing nothing in the motor pool for three years and never deploy receive 100% and they do not.”

Another commented, “when I went to college, I was receiving 60% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I had finished a 400 day mobilization for my deployment to Iraq so that was all I got. It was still a great benefit to have… but sometimes I had to dip into retirement savings to pay the difference. I had other Vets in my classes who had been on active duty but had never left the state of California and were receiving the full benefit. Yes they earned it by the letter of the law, but there is little difference between my stateside drills/annual training/NCOES/etc and theirs. If I had been allowed to count all of my Reserve time I would have received 70% which would have made a big difference for me. I really hope this becomes law. Granted Reserve and Guard wouldn’t earn the benefit as fast, but it would be better than what they get now.”

Long-awaited Legislation has widespread support

There is widespread support for this long-awaited legislation among those in positions to support the military community, as well. Veterans Education Project (VEP) Legislative Director Donald Franklin said, “These brave men and women are long overdue the benefits befitting their service.” Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO voiced, “The expanded eligibility under [this act] takes a major step forward by recognizing the reserve component’s sacrifice to our nation and rewarding their service with education benefits like their active-duty counterparts.” And Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Karen Craig, President of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States responded, “We appreciate the[se] efforts… to ensure that members of the National Guard and Reserve are eligible for the GI Bill benefits they deserve based on their increased service to our nation. The National Guard activated over 187,000 servicemembers last year, and this legislation will ensure they receive GI Bill benefits equal to their active-duty counterparts, regardless of status.”

Whether this proposed legislation will be passed is still up in the air, but those in support of it are dedicated to making sure it remains a priority. With the larger focus currently residing strongly on pandemic response efforts, supporters hope that it can be “included in the annual defense authorization bill expected to pass later this fall.”

 

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Multiple Degrees Possible with New VA Rules

Multiple Degrees Possible with New VA Rules

A rule change by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) beginning April 1, 2021 expanded opportunities to Veterans. The new policy permits them to use their education benefits to obtain multiple degrees.

Previously, the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefit counted against any GI Benefit the Veteran would use in the future. The “48-month rule” has historically capped the benefit to 48 months. A reinterpretation of the law prohibits the use of VR&E benefits to count against the 48 months limit of the GI Bill.

RELATED: Important GI Bill Update: 48 Month Rule

“Now, Veterans who use Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits prior to using any other VA education program, such as the Montgomery GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill, can still use up to 48 total months of the other educational assistance benefit programs,” the VA announced in a statement.

The Impact

The VA did not offer a specific number of Veterans that may be impacted by this new rule. However, the VA will send notification letters to those affected by the update, and no action is necessary by anyone currently receiving education benefits.

If you are currently using education benefits, under this new rule your monthly entitlement will be recalculated to remove any months of VR&E charged as VA training. You will receive a separate letter advising you of the corrected balance for your remaining benefit.

What is Veterans Readiness & Employment?

This program allows veterans who have at least a 10% service-connected disability access to resources in training and employment.

There are five “tracks” within the VR&E support program:

These programs help veterans find jobs, keep those jobs, and to live as independently as possible.

Best Practices Based on New Rule

For the best results, a Veteran should use the VR&E benefit first. The new rule does not allow the VR&E benefit to count against the 48-month cap. However, the use of GI Bill benefits does count against the VR&E benefit. 

Furthermore, this approach would allow a student to extend the time they have under these programs, essentially giving them the funding for multiple degrees. 

“Veterans may apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits at any time,” the VA stated in response to a question. “However, the use of entitlement in any VA education program impacts the amount of remaining VR&E entitlement that a Veteran may be eligible to receive.”

Conclusion

Overall, this is a big change, and not a cheap one either. Steve Beynon of Military.com stated that the “switch in policy could be the most significant change to education benefits since the ‘Forever GI Bill’, which erased the benefit’s expiration date, was signed into law in 2017.”

Certainly, this reinterpretation of the law will benefit many Veterans.

 

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8 Tips for Using the GI Bill

8 Tips for Using the GI Bill®

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has offered some guidance on getting your GI Bill benefits in a timely fashion.

If you are currently using your GI Bill benefits, then you may have already received an email from the VA outlining the following information. Here’s a quick breakdown of their suggestions:

Plan Ahead

You can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to estimate the general level of benefits you should expect.

Enroll as Early as Possible

Enroll in classes as early as you can and if at all possible, avoid changing your course schedule once you are enrolled.

Get to Know Your School Certifying Official

Get to know who your School Certifying Official (SCA) is and stay in contact with them. You can find your school’s SCA by again using the GI Bill Comparison Tool, finding your school, and then scrolling down to “Contact Details”. Every school that accepts VA benefits MUST have an SCA.

Familiarize Yourself with School Procedures

Become familiar with the procedure your school uses regarding requests for certification to the VA. Most schools use a similar process, but they must all certify your courses and enrollments to the VA before any money is released for your education.

Contact School Certifying Official if Adding or Dropping Courses

If you do add or drop hours or courses, contact your SCA as soon as possible to avoid any potential for overpayment. If the VA overpays you, you’ll be notified of a debt that must be settled before full access to your benefits is reinstated.

Updating Your Bank Account Info

If you have changed your bank account or moved to a new address, contact the VA Education Service to update your information. You can do this through either the:

  • GI Bill website,
  • VA’s “Ask a Question” link
  • By phone at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

NOTE: If the VA doesn’t have your correct information, your payment will be delayed.

Contacting the VA by Mail

If you need to contact the VA by mail, use the Regional Processing office handling your claim. You can find the office that services you and their mailing address on this website.

NOTE: If you use a different address than the one that services your claim, they may not receive your message.

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to a delay in payment, contact the VA’s Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551, between 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. The VA will expedite any hardship request.

General GI Bill Timelines

The VA is committed to processing enrollments as quickly as possible, and they process them in the “date order” they are received. Hence, get your enrollments in as soon as you can and you’ll be at the earliest processing times.

The VA makes every effort to process original (first-time) applications within 24 days of submission. For supplemental, or re-enrollment claims, the target is 12 days. The VA projects that they will continue to hit these target windows as they push through this Spring enrollment period. Keep in mind that unique factors may cause some claims to take longer. This is where staying in contact with your school’s SCA is important. They are your direct connection to your enrollment.

Additional Resources

  • The VA recently posted FAQs about protecting your benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They also have a fact sheet that offers basic information and resources for students.
  • The VA has developed the COVID Coach App designed to help Veterans and their families cope with feelings of stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic. (Here’s a COVID Coach Demo video.) It is available for iOS and Android devices. Download the COVID Coach by visiting the VA Mobile App Store.
  • If you are nearing the end of your educational journey, the VA developed “A Guide to Furthering Your Career”, which has a ton of great information about entering the job market and entrepreneurship.

I know that my classes have already started.  I registered for them months ago. If you are struggling to discover which schools or education programs are available to you, we have a ton of information at College Recon that can lead you in the right direction.

Need to find additional funding sources for school? Check out our Scholarship Finder tool that can connect you with scholarship opportunities.

(Image courtesy of U.S. Army Media)

 

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