EDUCATION: The VA administers basic programs for veterans and service persons seeking assistance for education or training.
Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits – Chapter 31
What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?
Vocational Rehabilitation is a program whose primary function is to help veterans with service-connected disabilities become suitably employed, maintain employment, or achieve independence in daily living.
The program offers a number of services to help each eligible disabled veteran reach his or her rehabilitation goal. These services include vocational and personal counseling, education and training, financial aid, job assistance, and, if needed, medical and dental treatment. Services generally last up to 48 months, but they can be extended in certain instances.
How Can You Apply?
You can apply by filling out VA Form 28-1900, Disabled Veterans Application for Vocational Rehabilitation, and mail it to the VA regional office that serves your area.
Who Is Eligible?
Usually, you must first be awarded a monthly VA disability compensation payment. In some cases, you may be eligible if you aren’t getting VA compensation. For example, if you are awaiting discharge from the service because of a disability you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation.
Eligibility is also based on you meeting the following conditions:
- You served on or after September 16, 1940 AND
- Your service-connected disabilities (SCD) are rated at least 20% disabling by VA AND
- You need Vocational Rehabilitation to overcome an employment handicap AND
- It has been less than 12 years since VA notified you of your qualified SCD
- You may be entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services if you are rated 10% disabled; however it must be determined that you have a serious employment handicap (SEH).
- Regardless of your SCD rating percentage, you may have longer than 12 years to use your VR benefit if certain conditions prevented you from participating in a VR program or it is determined that you have a SEH.
How Much Does VA Pay?
If you need training, VA will pay your training costs, such as tuition and fees, books, supplies, equipment, and, if needed, special services. While you are in training, VA will also pay you a monthly benefit to help with living expenses, called a subsistence allowance. For details, call the toll-free number below.
For More Information, call toll-free 1-800-827-1000 or Visit Our Web Site at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/vrs.htm.
Post-9/11 GI Bill: General Information
Who is eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
Individuals who serve at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001 are eligible.
- To be eligible for 100% of the benefit, an individual must have served an aggregate of 36 months of active duty service, or have been discharged for a service-connected disability after 30 days of continuous service. NOTE: Active-duty service time required by graduates of a Service Academy or ROTC does not count toward the three years necessary to qualify for full benefits.
- For those who served fewer than 36 months, the percentage of benefit ranges from 40% to 90%:
- 90% – 30 total months (including service on active duty in entry level and skill training)
- 80% – 24 total months (including service on active duty in entry level and skill training)
- 70% – 18 total months (excluding service on active duty in entry level and skill training)
- 60% – 12 total months (excluding service on active duty in entry level and skill training)
- 50% – 6 total months (excluding service on active duty in entry level and skill training)
- 40% – 90 or more days (excluding service on active duty in entry level and skill training).
For example, an individual with five months of qualifying service could receive 40% of the tuition benefit, 40% of the monthly housing allowance, and a maximum of $400 books and supplies stipend.
- Veterans must have an honorable discharge or other qualifying discharge (e.g. hardship, condition interfering with duty, etc.) to be eligible.
What benefits do students receive under the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
Depending on each individual’s situation, benefits could include payment of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, a stipend for books and supplies, college fund (“kicker”) payments, a rural benefit payment, and a Yellow Ribbon benefit. Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits differ from other education assistance programs in that each type of payment is issued separately, with some payments made directly to the school and others issued to the individual.
- Tuition and Fees: These payments are issued to the school on behalf of the individual at the time the certificate of enrollment is processed
- Not on active duty: For individuals not on active duty, the amount is prorated according to length of service. The amount paid is limited to the highest amount of tuition and fees charged for full-time, undergraduate training at a public institution of higher learning in the state where the student is enrolled. (A chart of maximum in-state tuition and fees for 2008-2009 is on the VA GI Bill website at http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/CH33/Tuition_and_fees.htm.)
- On active duty: Individuals on active duty may receive the total amount of tuition and fees. The amount is not limited to the state maximum.
- Monthly housing allowance: This payment is issued directly to the student at the beginning of each month for education and training pursued the previous month. The amount is prorated based on length of service. NOTE: Active duty personnel are not eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly housing allowance. Students enrolled exclusively in online training are not eligible for the housing allowance.
- Books and supplies stipend: This payment issued directly to the student when the school certifies and VA processes the enrollment. This benefit is prorated based on length of service.
- NOTE: Active duty personnel are not eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill books and supplies stipend.
- Yellow Ribbon payments: The Yellow Ribbon Program allows degree-granting institutions to enter into a voluntary agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate for individuals eligible for the 100% payment tier. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution. This payment is issued to the school when the school certifies and VA processes the student’s enrollment. (For details on this program see Yellow Ribbon Program on the web page — http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/CH33/Yellow_ribbon.htm.)
- College fund or “kicker”: These payments are issued directly to the student based on “rate of pursuit” (full- or part-time study) and the education benefits program under which the kicker is payable. Post-9/11 GI Bill kickers will be issued monthly with the housing allowance; all other kickers will be issued in a lump sum when the student’s enrollment certification is processed.
- Rural benefit payments: This one-time, lump-sum payment of $500 is issued directly to a student who resides in a county with six persons or fewer per square mile (as determined by the most recent decennial census), and who either:
- Physically relocates at least 500 miles to attend an educational institution, or
- Relocates by air (any distance) to physically attend an educational institution, if no other land-based transportation exists.
What kind of education and training does the Post-9/11 GI Bill cover?
Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees. All training programs must be offered by a degree-granting institution of higher learning (IHL) and approved for GI Bill benefits. Additionally, tutorial assistance and reimbursement for one licensing or certification test reimbursement are available under the Post- 9/11 GI Bill.
NOTE: If an individual is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill as well as other GI Bill benefits, s/he will be required to make an irrevocable choice of which benefit to receive. Individuals who were previously eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD, Chapter 30), Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR, Chapter 1606), or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP, Chapter 1607) may continue to receive benefits for approved programs not offered by degree-granting institutions. These programs include flight, correspondence, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, preparatory courses, and national tests. Individuals in these programs will be paid as if they are still receiving benefits under Chapters 30, 1606, and 1607.
When will benefits be paid?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is effective for training on or after August 1, 2009.
What is the eligibility period?
The period of eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill ends 15 years from the date of the last discharge or release from active duty of at least:
- 90 consecutive days
- 30 days but less than 90 days if released for a service-connected disability
- Or: 15 years from the date of discharge for the last period of service used to meet the minimum service requirements of 90 aggregate days of service.