The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a GI Bill program that benefits those that serve in the U.S. armed services. It is certainly one of the reasons why people join the Armed Forces in the first place, other than wanting to serve one’s country or gain a life-changing experience.
Military life is definitely rewarding and educational while serving, but when one retires or separates from the military, the VA educational and training benefits are what many look forward to have available to help pay for college and achieve the education needed for life after leaving the military. This is where VA comes in and works for military personnel: to provide post-military benefits that can be applied to help one be marketable in the future.
Those that join, either as active duty or reservists, and serve will be eligible for VA educational assistance for college tuition – the amount received depends on whether a student is half or part-time – and additional school fees and entrepreneurship training, if one chooses, or help to pay for non-college degree courses, technical or vocational ones. VA will even administer a monthly stipend and a living allowance for apprenticeships/on-the-job training for those that qualify – offered to Veterans and Reserve only – and provide reimbursement for licensing and certification tests (up to $2,000 per test), if specifically approved and showing it could lead to future employment.
VA educational and training benefits are given only to those to service members, reservists and military veterans who are honorably discharged – this is a requirement to be eligible for the GI Bill program and receive incentives.
Education and training assistance is available from a variety of GI Bill programs: Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) provides assistance to members of the Guard and Reserve – the benefits fall under chapter 1607. For members of active duty, there is the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) and the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).
Other programs that one can participate in are the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), which can be found in Chapter 32, the one for Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606) or for Voc Rehab (Chapter 31).
It is important to know that upon receiving an honorable discharge, one has up to 10 years under the Montgomery GI Bill and 15 years to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. The time will only reset if one returns to military duty service again. The time allotted for the other GI Bill programs depends and so does what type of benefits one will be able to receive; therefore, it is ideal to visit www.gibill.va.gov for more details.
This is also the website to go and apply for the VA Educational and Training Benefits, if not to know more about the GI Bill eligibility requirements, to find answers to questions relating to transferring such benefits on to a spouse or dependent, or else to obtain information about the VA Work-Study program where one can “earn while they learn” or retrieve the VA Form 22-1990 – to apply for “VA Education Benefits” or VA Form 22-1995 – to request for “Change of Program or Place of Training.”