The GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility
Applying for the GI Bill is the first step toward a degree from an institution of higher learning.
The process for getting your GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is relatively easy, but there’s one thing you need to remember. Submit your “Application for VA Education Benefits” well before fully enrolling in school.
Why Do You Need To Apply for a GI Bill COE Early?
The VA clearly states that the application process takes up to 30 days. Remember that the school must also receive verification that you are eligible for the GI Bill, being approved for a VA COE is only one step in the process.
Apply for your benefits immediately after deciding upon a school and being accepted. It is important to remember that the 30-day window for typical GI Bill benefits applications is 30 days. If there are problems with your application, a high volume of new applications, or staffing issues at the VA, your paperwork may take longer to process.
The same is true of you are missing important documentation such as your DD Form 214 (Report of Discharge). If you have to request a replacement from the National Archives, it may take several more weeks to receive your replacement forms, adding to the time it takes to get your GI Bill COE.
You should verify your GI Bill status before enrolling in a military friendly college or other academic institution. If not, you may be in a tight spot with the school’s business office.
How to Get My GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility
Make sure you have the following documentation before you start the application process:
- Social Security number
- Education and military history
- Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend
- Bank account direct deposit information
When will I receive the first GI Bill payment?
If you have Direct Deposit, or you applied for it when you submitting your GI Bill application,, the VA says, “We’ll deposit your payment into your bank account 7 to 10 business days after you verify your school enrollment.” This is the fastest way to receive your payment. Those who opted to be paid by check should recieve it in the mail two weeks after the VA verifies your school enrollment.
Need Help Filling Out Your Application?
An accredited representative, like a Veterans Service Officer (VSO), can help you fill out your claim. Find an accredited representative. You don’t need one to fill out GI Bill paperwork, but some find the assistance helpful. It can make the entire application process feel less intimidating for some.
There are three ways to obtain a copy of your GI Bill Letter or Certificate of Eligibility.
#1 Online: How to Get Your GI Bill COE Online
If you have an eBenefits Level II account, you can:
- Log onto eBenefits
- On the Welcome page, select the “Manage Your Benefits” option at the bottom
- Under the “Manage Benefits” option, select the “Status Tracking” option
- In the Education block, you should see a link for the benefit you are eligible for
- Select the “Enrollment Status” Link (Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, etc)
- Print the page entitled “Education Enrollment Status”
#2 By Mail: How to Get Your GI Bill COE By Mail
Call 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (888-442-4551), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, to request to have an application sent to you. Fill it out and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office. The office should be in the same location as your school.
See a list of regional claims processing offices
#3 In-Person: How to Get Your GI Bill COE In-Person
Go to a VA regional benefit office to get assistance from a VA employee.
Find a VA regional benefit office near you
Other Resources Available To You
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for education benefits. Get help filing your claim
Work with your school’s certifying official. This person is usually in the Registrar or Financial Aid office at the school.
- Getting the Most Out of Your GI Bill
- Dealing With GI Bill Glitches
- GI Bill Eligibility Certification Process
- The Reality of College Credit for Military Service