Monday, May 18, 2009

What the G.I Bil Means to You - Memorial Day Week Special

Veteran Transition(photo by

This week here on the JobSpot we have some very special information for veterans and for families of veterans looking to find a job in today's climate. While the job search may be similar to that of a non veteran, there are a few extra resources, Bills and tips that can help accelerate your transition into civilian life. Today we examine part 1 of 2 on the G.I. Bill that was introduced post 9/11.

(P.S. Tip: The Department of Veterans Affairs is the only resource that can answer your personal and specific GI Bill entitlement questions. Call 1-888-GIBILL-1 for questions concerning the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The answers given below have been derived from interviews and VA documentation. However, many questions remain, and much is still to be determined.

When does this new benefit go into effect?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) goes into effect on August 1, 2009.

Is this benefit retroactive?
No. The Post 9/11 GI Bill will only cover classes and programs completed after July 31, 2009.

Am I eligible for this new benefit?
You are eligible if you served a minimum of 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. This covers active duty served as a member of the Armed Forces or as a result of a call or order to active duty from a reserve component (National Guard and Reserve) under certain sections of title 10. However, some periods of active duty service are excluded. Periods of service under the following do not count toward qualification for the Post 9/11 GI Bill:
  • NOAA, PHS, or Active Guard Reserve;
  • ROTC under 10 U.S.C. 2107(b);
  • Service academy contract period;
  • Service terminated due to defective enlistment agreement;
  • Service used for loan repayment; and
  • Selected reserve service used to establish eligibility under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB chapter 30),
  • MGIB for Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR Chapter 1606), or the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP chapter 1607)

Does the length of time served after 9/11 effect my level of benefits?
Yes, the amount of tuition and stipends paid under the Post 9/11 GI Bill will vary depending on your state of residence, number of units taken, and amount of post Sept. 11, 2001 active-duty service. Here is a quick reference showing the percentage of total combined benefit eligibility based on the following periods of post 9/11 service:
  • 100% - 36 or more total months
  • 100% - 30 or more consecutive days with Disability related Discharge.
  • 90% - 30 total months
  • 80% - 24 total months
  • 70% - 18 total months
  • 60% - 12 total months
  • 50% - six total months
  • 40% - 90 or more consecutive days

What are the benefits of the this new educational assistance program?
The Post 9/11 GI Bill offers several education assistance benefits. The three major benefits include up to 100% paid tuition, a monthly housing stipend, and a stipend of up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies. If you attend less than full-time you will receive a portion of the payment based on the number of units of study. These payment rates are paid according to the length of your period of service as listed in the previous question.

Are there additional benefits?
Yes, the additional benefits include the following, which are not charged against your 36 month entitlement:
  • Tutorial assistance may be paid up to $100 per month, not to exceed a total of $1200;
  • One licensing and certification test may be reimbursed, not to exceed the cost of the test up to a maximum of $2000; and
  • Work-study is authorized for individuals training at 3⁄4 time or higher.
  • A one-time payment of $500 for veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue a program of education if the claimant—
  • Resides in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile (as determined by most recent decennial Census); and either
  • Physically relocates at least 500 miles; or
  • Travels by air to physically attend an IHL if no other land-based transportation exists.

Is the a limit to the benefits if I go to school half-time?
Yes, there is a limitation on Educational Assistance for Training Pursued at Half-time or Less and for Active Duty Members. If your attend training at 1⁄2 time or less you are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend. You are eligible for an appropriately reduced stipend for books. The amount of educational assistance payable is the applicable percentage mentioned in an earlier question at a rate the lesser of:
  • Established charges; or
  • Highest amount of established charges regularly charged in-State undergraduate students for full-time pursuit at an in-State public college or university.

I am on active duty, is there a limit to my benefits?
Yes, active duty members are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend or for the book stipend. The amount of educational assistance payable is the lesser of the:
  • Established charges; or
  • The Top-up amount not covered by military tuition assistance.

I was promised the College Fund when I joined, will I still get that extra benefit?
Yes, individuals eligible for a kicker (College Fund, Reserve Kicker) will remain eligible for such kicker under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If eligible, you will be paid the kicker each month as an increase to your housing stipend, even on active duty. Although as an active duty service member, or a veterans training at 1⁄2 time or less, or you are pursuing distance learning, you will receive your monthly kicker payment.

I elected to make additional contributions under the “Buy-Up” program, will I get the additional benefit?
No, you will not receive an increased amount for additional contributions ($600 buy-up) paid under chapters 30 or 1607 and you will not be refunded this amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.


I hope this information was useful and tomorrow we will continue to look at the G.I. Bill and how it can help jump start you career. Later in the week you will hear testimonials from former soldiers, information on vocational rehab, resources and more all in a salute to our Veterans as we approach Memorial Day.

All of these articles and more can be found throughout the state of Florida in our Veteran's Transition Guide. A complete list of Central Florida locations will be available by the end of the week, and you can always grab a copy at Workforce Central Florida.

Please let us know if you have any comments or additions and we'll be sure to address them.

-Greg Rollett


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