POST 9/11 GI BILL
MONTGOMERY GI BILL
GI BILL SELECTED RESERVE
Reserve Education Assistance Program
Veterans Educational Assistance Program
Disabled Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program
GI BILL Transferability
Applying for Federal Benefits
New Jersey State Benefits
This section is intended to summarize various programs and options available to eligible veterans. There are different active duty service requirements for different programs, and eligibility for benefits varies. With a few exceptions, an honorable discharge is required, and there are time limits from date of last period of active duty/honorable discharge until eligibility for benefits expires. It is also important to contact the Veterans Assistance office at any post-secondary educational institution you are considering attending.
VA provides personalized educational and vocational counseling services for veterans to help guide their career paths and make effective use of VA benefits, and achieve their goals. Services include career choice guidance to help you evaluate options based interests and abilities; benefits coaching so you can make the best use of your VA benefits and other available resources; and personalized academic and adjustment support to help overcome any barriers to your success. Eligibility extends to active members between six months before and twelve months after release from active duty; any service member/veteran eligible for education benefits; and all those currently receiving VA education benefits. To apply for these services, go to http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-28-8832-ARE.pdf, pull up VA Form 28-8832, print and complete it. Then mail or bring it to the nearest VA Regional Office, located at 20 Washington Place, Newark, 07102. If eligible, you will be contacted about attending an orientation seminar.
Once you’ve developed a basic idea as to your educational goals (college, vocational training, etc.) and thought about some schools you might like to attend, you can try the GI Bill Comparison Tool. It is designed to make it easier for veterans, service members, and family members to estimate their GI Bill education benefits and learn more about VA’s approved college, university, and other education and training programs. The tool has new functionality, including a more robust GI Bill benefits calculator and additional information pertinent to the veteran population. For more information, visit the GI Bill Comparison Tool website. Keep in mind that this is only an estimator of what you may be eligible for – it does not evaluate each and every requirement.
Different programs and benefits are outlined in the following paragraphs. You can always get more information and answers to your questions by calling VA at 888-442-4551. Note that only trained VA representatives can answer specific questions about your GI Bill benefits.
POST 9/11 GI BILL
This program is for service members and veterans who served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001 and were honorably discharged or are still on active duty. Eligibility for benefits expires 15 years from the last period of active duty of at least 90 days. Approved training includes undergraduate and graduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing, and tutorial assistance. Those who have elected to receive benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program are not eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship entitles children and spouses of those who die in the line of duty after September 11, 2001 to use 36 months of Post 9/11 Bill benefits between their 18th and 33rd birthdays. More information, including the Yellow Ribbon Education Enhancement Program, can be found at POST 9/11 GI BILL INFO. NOTE: The Post 9/11 GI Bill is the ONLY one which allows transferring education benefits to spouses or children. See GI Bill Transferability, below.
MONTGOMERY GI BILL (MGIB-AD)
This program is for service members and veterans who have had military pay reduced by $1200 during their first year of active duty and did not decline MGIB in writing. Active service members must have completed two continuous years of active duty to apply. Veterans must have served three continuous years on active duty and received a fully honorable discharge – “general” and “under honorable conditions” discharges do not establish eligibility. There are exceptions for service members who separated earlier than the required period of active duty including service-connected disability, reduction in force, convenience of the government, etc. All applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate. Benefits must be used within 10 years from the date of last discharge from active duty. Full eligibility details can be found at http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/gi-bill-eligibility-details.html. That page also has links to benefit amounts, FAQs, finding schools, and more.
GI BILL SELECTED RESERVE (MGIB-SR)
Members of the Selected Reserve and National Guard can qualify for educational benefits provided they: committed to a six year obligation after June 30, 1985; completed Initial Active Duty for Training; have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before applying; and, remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. This program also offers two additional options. The first gives those who serve continuously for 24 or more months on active duty the option to pay into the GI Bill for active duty (MGIB-AD). The second is outlined below and is called Reserve Education Assistance Program. It allows activated Reserve and Guard members up to 80 percent of the GI Bill for active duty. Full MGIB-SR eligibility details and links to benefit amounts, FAQs, finding schools, and more can be found at http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/selected-reserve-gi-bill-users-guide.html#over.
NOTE: VA has published Montgomery GI Bill pamphlets for both Active Duty (2011) and Reserve/Guard (2007) benefits. The pamphlets apparently have not been updated and direct the reader to VA websites for current information. For that reason, the pamphlets are not included here.
Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP)
This program is a DoD/VA benefit designed to provide educational assistance to members of reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation) as declared by the President or Congress. The program is funded by the Department of Defense. Eligibility is determined by DoD and the Department of Homeland Security. Reservists and Guardsmen/women must have served at least 90 consecutive days after September 10, 2001, and been activated under the provisions of title 10 United States Code or section 502(f), title 32 USC. Application for this program takes a slightly different path, and you should call VA at 888-442-4551 for guidance. There is more information at http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/reserve-education-assistance-program-reap.html.
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
This program is available to those who elected to make contributions from their military pay. Participants must have entered service between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985; have set up a contribution account before April 1, 1987; and have completed their first period of service. VEAP benefits expire 10 years after release from active duty. There is more information at http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/veterans-educational-assistance-program-veap.html.
Disabled Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program (VR&E)
Veterans with a 10% disability rating or a 20% memorandum rating from VA and an employment handicap may qualify for benefits that can include counseling, training, education, and job placement. The veteran must also have received or be about to receive a discharge under other than dishonorable conditions. This is a two level program that first requires filing an application and an evaluation and meeting with a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC). The application must be filed online at the Department of Veterans Affairs VONAPP site. If it is determined that a service connected employment handicap exists, you and the VRC will work together to select a track of services and develop a plan to address your rehabilitation and employment needs. You and the VRC will jointly work to implement your plan and achieve successful rehabilitation. Participants in the program may also be eligible for a monthly subsistence allowance. If the counselor determines you are not entitled to services, he/she will still work with you to locate other resources to address your rehabilitation and employment needs. Benefits from this program generally must be used within 12 years from the date of separation from active duty or the date you were first notified by VA of a service connected disability rating, whichever is later. More complete details for this program are at http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/vocational-rehabilitation-and-employment-vre.html.
GI BILL Transferability
Career service members, both active and reserve, can elect to transfer some or all of their GI Bill credits to spouses and/or children. Eligible members must have served on or after August 1, 2009, must be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and:
|1.||must have at least six years of service on the date of election and agree to serve four additional years from the date of election; OR|
|2.||must have at least ten years of service on the date of election, be precluded by either policy (service or DoD) or statute from serving four additional years and agree to serve up to the amount of time allowed by policy or statute.|
Also, a family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits at the time of transfer. An approved spouse may start to use the benefit immediately and can use the benefit for up to 15 years from the member’s last separation from active duty. Spouses are not eligible for the monthly stipend or books and supplies stipend while the member is on active duty. Approved children can use the benefit only after the member has completed ten years of service, and must have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate OR have reached 18 years of age. Children are entitled to the monthly stipend and the books and supplies stipend even if the member is on active duty. Children may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age.
While in the armed forces, members use the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) website to designate, modify, and revoke a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) request. After leaving the armed forces, transferors may provide a future effective date for use of TOE, modify the number of months transferred, or revoke entitlement transferred by submitting a written request to VA. Submit a TEB request now for your Service component approval (non-VA Link). (NOTE: When the milConnect Home page displays, select Education then Transfer of Education Benefits [TEB] from the menu bar.)
Upon approval, family members may apply to use transferred benefits with VA by printing, completing, and mailing the VA Form 22-1990e to your nearest VA regional office or applying online. VA Form 22-1990e should only be completed and submitted to VA by the family member after DoD has approved the request for TEB. Do not use VA Form 22-1990e to apply for TEB. For more information on transferability, call VA at 888-442-4551 or visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_transfer.asp.
Applying for Federal Benefits
You can apply for your education benefits using eBenefits.va.gov. If you don’t have an eBenefits account, register here. In eBenefits, apply using the Veterans On-line Application (VONAPP) to complete and submit your application online. You can also submit a paper application. To do this, download and complete VA Form 22-1990, “Application for VA Education Benefits” Download VA Form 22-1990 and mail it to a VA Regional Processing Office. You can mail the form to the region of your home address or to the VA Regional Processing Office for the region of your school’s physical address, if you know what school you want to attend. Also, you can call a VA Education Case Manager (1-888-GIBill1) to ask for help. For more information on how to apply online, visit the Education Apply for Benefits web page.
WAR ORPHANS TUITION ASSISTANCE – Children of those service personnel who died while in the military or due to service connected disabilities, or who are officially listed as missing in action by the U.S. Dept. of Defense may claim $500 per year for four years of college or equivalent training. To qualify, the child must be a resident of New Jersey for at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the application and be between the ages of 16 and 21 at the time of application. The veteran must have been a state resident.
POW-MIA TUITION BENEFIT PROGRAM – Free undergraduate college tuition is available to any child born or adopted before or during the period of time his or her parent was officially declared a prisoner of war (POW) or person missing in action (MIA) after Jan.1, 1960. The POW-MIA must have been a New Jersey resident at the time he or she entered the service or whose official residence is in N J. The child must attend either a public or private institution in N.J. A copy of DD 1300 must be furnished with the application.
VETERANS TUITION CREDIT PROGRAM – Veterans attending any approved educational institution may apply for the Veterans Tuition Credit Program. Under the program, partial reimbursement is provided to the institution to offset the cost of the veteran’s tuition. Maximum reimbursement is $400 per year for full-time students, $200 for part-time students. To qualify, the veteran must have been on active duty between Dec.31, 1960, and May 7, 1975, and have been a legal resident of N. J. at the time of entrance into or discharge from the service, or two years immediately prior to application.
Click this link to get more information on the Veteran Benefits offered by New Jersey.
AMERICAN LEGION SCHOLARSHIPS offer opportunities for everyone, including kin of wartime veterans and participants in Legion programs. http://www.legion.org/scholarships
Affordable Online College Resouces: http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/degrees/mba-programs/supporting-veterans/
Guidance on choosing a school – VA pamphlet – http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/docs/factsheets/choosing_a_school.pdf
CareerScope Assessment Tool – VA pamphlet – http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/careerscope.asp
Student Veterans of America – officially recognized campus “chapters” provide support to student vets. http://www.legion.org/education/studentveterans
Getting Your Degree – articles from Military.com – http://www.military.com/education/getting-your-degree/archive
Military Spouse Scholarships – Spouses-to-teachers