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.
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.
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?
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)?
- Are you applying for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- APPLICANT’S DATE OF BIRTH
Enter in your full date of birth in the boxes provided.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ARE YOU MARRIED?
Answer Yes or No.
- 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
- 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.
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.