POST-9/11 GI BILL
CHAPTER 33, TITLE 38 U.S. CODE
Generally, an individual who served a minimum of 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001, will be eligible for educational assistance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. 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 under section 688, 12301(a), 12301(d), 12303(g), 12302, or 12304 of Title 10 is qualifying active duty service.
On October 1, 2011, VA will begin paying benefits to members of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard for qualifying service under title 32. The following service may qualify:
- Full time service in the National Guard for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training.
- Activations in support of a national emergency under section 502(f) of title 32.
Benefits can be paid retroactively to August 1, 2009, the effective date of the Post-9/11 GI Bill program.
The following periods of active duty service are excluded:
- ROTC under 10 U.S.C. 2107(b)
- Service academy contract period
- Service terminated due to defective enlistment agreement
- Service used for loan repayment
Period of Eligibility
In general an individual’s eligibility to use Chapter 33 benefits expires 15 years from the date of the last discharge or release from active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.
In order to retain eligibility, after meeting the service requirements, an individual must:
- Be honorably discharged from Armed Forces; or
- Be released from Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable and placed on the retired list, temporary disability retired list, or transferred to the Fleet Reserve or the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve
- Be released from Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable for further service in a reserve component.
Chapter 33 Entitlement
Individuals eligible under Chapter 33 are generally entitled to 36 months of educational assistance. Individuals are limited to a maximum of 48 months of entitlement when using benefits under two or more programs. Individuals eligible for benefits under the national call to service program and Chapter 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, or 36 of title 38; or Chapter 107, 1606, 1607, or section 903 of title 10; or the hostage relief act of 1980; or the omnibus diplomatic security and antiterrorism act of 1986 may not receive assistance under two or more such programs concurrently.
Election Students eligible for Chapter 30, 1606, or 1607, on August 1, 2009, and on their election date, must relinquish a benefit to receive Chapter 33. Students eligible for more than one benefit only have to relinquish one benefit to receive Chapter 33.
Chapter 33 elections are irrevocable. However:
- Election requests can be withdrawn if the Regional Processing Office receives the withdrawal request before a certificate of eligibility is issued or a payment processed.
- Election requests can be changed if the Regional Processing Office receives the change request before a certificate of eligibility is issued or a payment processed. The student must request the change in writing.
Length of Service Percentage
Eligible students receive a percentage of the Chapter 33 benefit for tuition and fees, monthly housing allowance, and book stipend based on their length of service. The percentage is determined by the student’s aggregate active duty service after September 10, 2001. All creditable active duty and qualifying call-up service are combined to determine the aggregate service.
Length of service percentages are described in the following table:
(Aggregate active duty after 9/10/01)
% Of Maximum Benefit Payable
At least 36 months
At least 30 continuous days on active duty
(Must be discharged due to service-connected disability)
At least 30 months, but less than 36 months (1)
At least 24 months, but less than 30 months (1)
At least 18 months, but less than 24 months (2)
At least 12 months, but less than 18 months (2)
At least 06 months, but less than 12 months (2)
At least 90 days, but less than 06 months (2)
(1) Includes entry level and skill training. (2) Excludes entry level and skill training.
(3) If the service requirements are met at both the 80 and 70 percentage level, the maximum percentage of 70 must be applied too amounts payable.
Education and Training Available Under Chapter 33
Effective August 1, 2009. All programs must be offered by a degree-granting institution of higher learning (IHL) and approved for Chapter 30. Approved programs include undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, professional degrees, and non-degree programs approved at the IHL. Additionally, tutorial assistance and reimbursement for one licensing or certification test are available under Chapter 33. Students who elect Chapter 33 and relinquish Chapter 30, 1606, or 1607 may receive benefits for approved programs not offered by an IHL (non degree programs, flight training, correspondence courses, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, preparatory courses, and national tests). These students will be paid for these programs as if they were still receiving benefits under the relinquished benefit, but their entitlement will be charged under Chapter 33.
Effective October 1, 2011. VA will begin paying Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to individuals pursuing the following approved non-IHL non-degree programs.
- Non-College Degree (NCD) schools
- On-the Job Training (OJT) and Apprenticeship programs
- Flight Programs
- Correspondence courses
Chapter 33 Benefit Payments
Depending on the student’s situation, Chapter 33 benefits can 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 Program benefit. Chapter 33 differs from other education Chapters in that each type of payment is issued separately, with some payments made directly to the school and others directly to the student.
The tuition and fees payment is paid directly to the school on behalf of the student when the school’s enrollment certification is processed. The tuition and fees payment is prorated by the student’s benefit level.
- U.S. Public Schools: The actual net cost for in-state tuition and fees after the application of any waiver, scholarship, aid, or assistance [other than loans and funds provided under section 401(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965], provided directly to the institution and specifically designated for the sole purpose of defraying tuition and fees.
Effective August 1, 2009. A monthly housing allowance is paid directly to the student at the beginning of each month for the previous month. The housing allowance is prorated by the student’s length of service percentage. The monthly housing allowance paid equals the Department of Defense’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an “E-5 with dependents” and the zip code of the school. The BAH rates are at the following link
Rate of pursuit applies specifically to Chapter 33. It differs from training time, which is used for all other Chapters. Schools certify actual credit. VA calculates rate of pursuit by dividing the number of credit (or credit hour equivalents) being pursued by the number of credit considered to be full-time by the school. The resulting percentage is the student’s rate of pursuit.
Examples: If full-time is 12 credits, then rate of pursuit for:
- 6 credits (or credit equivalents) is 50% (6 ÷ 12 = 50%)
- 7 credits (or credit equivalents) is 58% (7 ÷ 12 = 58%)
The housing allowance is paid if the student’s rate of pursuit is more than 50%. Rate of pursuit determines whether a student receives or doesn’t receive the housing allowance. If pursuit is more than 50% the student receives the housing allowance. If the rate of pursuit is 50% or less, then the student doesn’t receive the housing allowance. (Active duty personnel receiving chapter 33 benefits or spouses of active duty personnel receiving Transfer of Entitlement (ToE) benefits are not eligible for the housing allowance.)
Effective August 1, 2011. Interval pay is eliminated except for periods where a school is closed due to an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency situation.
- These payments are limited to 4 weeks in any 12 month period
- This applies to all VA education benefit programs
Effective October 1, 2011. Individuals only enrolled in distance learning courses will be eligible for a monthly housing allowance equal to 50% of the national average of all Basic Allowances for Housing. Rates will be multiplied by the rate of pursuit rounded to the nearest multiple of 10.
Effective August 1, 2009. The books and supplies stipend is a lump sum payment (each quarter, semester or term attended) paid directly to the student when the school’s enrollment certification is processed. The stipend is prorated by the student’s length of service percentage.
The books and supplies stipend pays $41.67 per credit certified, up to 24 credits for the academic year (08/01/YY-07/31/YY). The start date of an enrollment period determines the academic year the enrollment period belongs to. The maximum stipend is $1,000 per academic year.
Effective August 1, 2009. Students eligible for a kicker under Chapter 30 or 1606 may receive the kicker under Chapter 33. The kicker will be prorated by the student’s rate of pursuit percentage and paid as a lump sum payment to the student when the school’s enrollment certification is processed. The Chapter 30 and 1607 additional contribution ($600 Buy-up) is not payable under Chapter 33.
Effective October 1, 2011. Eligible individuals will receive payments for ch30 and ch1606 kicker payments on a monthly, rather than a lump sum, basis. Kickers will be paid regardless of rate of pursuit or eligibility for the Monthly Housing Allowance. The applicable full time kicker rate will be multiplied by the rate of pursuit rounded to the nearest multiple of 10.
Effective October 1, 2011. Individuals may be reimbursed for multiple licensing and certification exams. One month of entitlement (rounded to the nearest whole month) will be charged for each $1,460 paid. The test must be approved for VA benefits. The amount equivalent to one month of entitlement will be adjusted each year based upon a COLA.
Effective October 1, 2011. Individuals may be reimbursed for multiple national tests (e.g. SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc). One month of entitlement (rounded to the nearest whole month) will be charged for each $1,460 paid. The test must be approved for VA benefits.
The amount equivalent to one month of entitlement will be adjusted each year based upon a COLA.
The rural benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment of $500. The rural benefit is issued directly to students who reside in a county with six persons or fewer per square mile who physically relocate at least 500 miles to attend a school, or relocate by air (any distance) when no other land-based transportation exists.
The Department of Defense (DoD) offers members of the Armed Forces the opportunity to transfer Chapter 33 benefits to their spouse or dependent children. If a member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve) serves six years and reenlists for 4 more years or has at least 10 years of service, then transfer of entitlement (ToE) is possible. While in the Armed Forces, members use the ToE website to designate, modify, and revoke a ToE request. After leaving the Armed Forces, members can 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.
NOTE: After separating from the Armed Forces individuals cannot designate new dependents to receive transferred entitlement or amend the effective date of the initial transfer of entitlement to an earlier date.
Refer to the Transfer of Entitlement link on the www.gibill.va.gov homepage. The link explains what the member must do, what the child or spouse must do, and gives all the needed links. There are two basic steps:
Step 1: The service member (transferor) must transfer the entitlement. If approved, transfer data is put into a secure online database DoD shares with VA. That database, in addition to providing VA qualifying periods of Chapter 33 service, also provides ToE data.
Step 2: The spouse or child (transferee) must apply. The application VA Form 22-1990e; Application for Family Member to Use Transferred Benefits can be completed online.
When certifying a ToE student, use the student’s social security number as the student’s file number and identify the student as a Chapter 33 student. Information and requirements about transferability can be found on DoD’s website at: www.defenselink.mil/home/features/2009/0409%5Fgibill.
Effective October 1, 2011. Individuals eligible for ToE from multiple transferors may not receive benefits from multiple sources concurrently. Members of the Public Health Service (PHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can be eligible to transfer unused ch33 entitlement. The rules for basic eligibility for Transfer of Entitlement (ToE) remain unchanged.
Effective August 1, 2009. The Fry Scholarship added a new eligibility criterion to Chapter 33. It provides benefit eligibility for children of active duty members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
An information sheet about the Fry Scholarship is available at http://www.gibill.va.gov/documents/factsheets/fry_scholarship.pdf
- May be married or over 23 and still be eligible
- Are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level
- Have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on their 18th birthday
- May use the benefit until their 33rd birthday
- Are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program
Chapter 30 has four eligibility categories. The benefits generally apply to Veterans who began active duty service for the first time after June 30, 1985, had their pay reduced $100 a month for 12 months, and received an honorable discharge. For further information on the four eligibility categories, visit http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/montgomery_gibill/active_duty.html
To be eligible for education payments under MGIB, Veterans must possess an Honorable discharge. This would exclude those Veterans with a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions or any other discharge other than Honorable. Also excluded are officers who obtained their commission after 12/31/76, through a military academy (Annapolis, West Point, Air Force Academy, or Coast Guard Academy), or through an ROTC scholarship program (payments exceeding $3,400/yr)
Individuals released from active duty with an Honorable character of service by reason of Convenience of the Government (COG) with 20 months of service on a two-year contract, or 30 months on a three-year contract, are eligible even if they did not complete their full contract period. They will receive one month of Chapter 30 benefits for each month of active duty.
Chapter 30 benefits are paid on a monthly basis directly to the veteran. Rates can be found at the following link - http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.html.
Chapter 30 Kickers and Additional Contributions
Higher monthly benefits are paid to Chapter 30 participants with “kickers” and to Chapter 30 participants who make additional Chapter 30 payments. Veterans may have a kicker, additional contributions, or both. The higher benefit rates are paid automatically when benefits are paid. If Veterans don’t receive the benefit they believe they are entitled to receive, they should call VA about the discrepancy so that VA can resolve the discrepancy with the Department of Defense. A kicker is part of the enlistment contract. It might be referred to as; Army College Fund, Navy Sea College Fund. If a contract has a $12,000 kicker, for example, then the monthly kicker is $333.33 ($12,000 ÷ 36 months), which increases the full-time Chapter 30 benefit.
Servicepersons who participate in Chapter 30 contribute $1,200.00 towards Chapter 30. The contribution is non-refundable, with one exception. Chapter 30 (category 1 only) students who elect and then exhaust their Chapter 33 entitlement and are receiving a monthly housing allowance will receive a refund of the $1,200.00 contribution proportional to the amount of unused chapter 30 entitlement at the time of election for chapter 33. The refund is included in their last monthly housing allowance payment.
Servicepersons may contribute up to $600.00 more into the program. The maximum $600.00 additional contribution will increase the basic full-time Chapter 30 benefit by $150.00 per month. Additional contributions are not refundable for those who elect Chapter 33.N
Educational Assistance paid to dependents of Veterans who have a service connected permanent and total disability or died as a result of service connection. Persons who may be eligible are:
• A child (between ages 18 and 26, with some exceptions) of a veteran who is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition; or who died in service; or who died of a service-connected disability; or who died while evaluated as having total and permanent service-connected disability; or who is listed as a POW or MIA.
• The surviving spouse of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability, or died in service, or died while evaluated as having total and permanent disability resulting from a service-connected disability. Surviving spouses whose benefits stopped when they remarried can receive DEA benefits again if their remarriage ends by death or divorce, or they cease to live with the person to whom they presented themselves in public as married.
• A spouse of a veteran or serviceperson who has a total and permanent disability resulting from a service-connected disability; or who is listed as a POW or MIA.
• The spouse or child of a service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.
More information on Dependents Educational Assistance can be found at http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/other_programs/dea.html
Chapter 1606 is an educational program for members who are actively participating in the Selected Reserve. Selected Reserve components include the Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard. The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard) determine who’s eligible for Chapter 1606. The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the program and pays benefits. Basic eligibility requires a 6-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve and satisfactory participation in required Selected Reserve training. Chapter 1606 benefits are paid on a monthly basis directly to the reservist. Rates can be found at the following link: - http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.html.
Chapter 1606 Kickers: An additional amount, called a kicker, may be added to the benefit of some Chapter 1606 students. The possible monthly kicker levels are $100, $200, and $350. A Chapter 1606 kicker may be a part of the original enlistment contract or part of a re-enlistment contract.
A veteran may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) benefits if he or she:
- Has received, or will receive, a discharge that is other than dishonorable
- Has a service-connected disability rating of at least 10%, or a memorandum rating of 20% or more from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
- Applies for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess services
The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E’s VetSuccess services may be used is 12 years from the latter of:
- The date of separation from active military service, or
- The date the veteran was first notified by VA of a service-connected disability rating
For additional information about VR&E contact the Regional Office in the state of the veteran.
Effective August 1, 2011. An individual eligible for Chapter 33 who is receiving benefits under Chapter 31 may elect to receive the applicable Chapter 33 Monthly Housing Allowance in lieu of the monthly subsistence allowance. Students should contact their Vocational Rehabilitation counselors for additional information.
Monthly benefit payments (or Monthly Housing Allowance for CH 33) are made directly to students. The payment is made to the student for the number of days the student is certified for the month. If a student is certified for a whole month, the full monthly benefit is paid. If the student is only certified for part of the month, the benefit is prorated as follows:
VA uses a 30-day month. Divide the monthly rate by 30 to get the daily rate. If a student is certified from the 1st through the 15th, the student is certified 15 days and is entitled to 15/30ths of the full monthly benefit.
Example: If the monthly benefit is $100.00 and the student is certified 1/1/12 through 1/15/12, the student is entitled to $50.00 ($3.33 per day for 15 days). If the student is certified 1/16/12 through 1/31/12, the student is entitled to $50.00 ($3.33 per day for 15 days). If the student is certified 1/1/12 through 1/31/12, the student is entitled to $100.00 (a full month’s benefit). Remember, VA uses a 30-day month: 1/16 through 1/30 (or 1/31) is 15 days and 2/16 through 2/28 (or 2/29) is 15 days. The month rounds out to 30 days.
‘‘GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill."