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One of the greatest benefits of having served in the Armed Forces of our Nation is the education benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education assistance program, Post 9/11 GI Education Bill, began August 1, 2009, and provides training and/or education assistance to eligible veterans and dependents.
Many of you are familiar with and may have participated in older GI Bills such as Post Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) Chapter 32 or Montgomery GI Bill Chapter 30. The new bill is the Post 9/11 GI Bill and it is a major improvement over the earlier bills. This bill is for members with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001.
There is no enrollment cost or fee and you can register by phone (888-442-4551). This bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits. The benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty and dependent children are eligible until they reach age 26 with no 15 year limitation. Some of the benefits included in the Post 9/11 GI Bill are; tuition, fees, monthly housing allowance, annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000 and a one time rural benefit of $500 for eligible individuals.
The bill has a transfer option which may require the active service member to commit to additional service time in order to receive the transfer benefit. Some of the rules for transfer of education benefits include; you may transfer benefits at any time while serving as a member of the armed Forces on or after August 1, 2009, have eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill with service since September 11, 2001. To transfer your benefits to a spouse you must have served six years with a commitment to 10 years, spouses of active duty members cannot receive the housing allowance since they already receive a housing allowance or live on base. The spouse is not eligible for the allowance for books and supplies.
The veteran can transfer the benefit to his children only after 10 years service and have agreed to four more years. Housing and books are paid while member is on active duty unlike the spouse benefit.
To enroll in the Post 9/11 GI Bill call 888-442-4551 for an application or contact the Admissions Office of the school of your choice. Further information is also available at www.va.gov.
For information contact the Service Officer for DAV Chapter 8, VFW Post 8184, and American Legion Post 16 at 434-316-0229. The office, located in the Marine Corps League Bldg at 2337 Lakeside Drive, Lynchburg, VA is open for walk-ins on Tuesday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Thursday by appointment
Sources for this article were www.va.gov and www.moaa.org.