Many post 9/11 veterans and servicemembers will soon see a new package of education benefits. This new Post 9/11 GI Bill, or so-called GI Bill for the 21st Century, boasts the most comprehensive education benefits package since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.
The new bill goes well beyond helping to pay for tuition; many veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001, will get full tuition and fees, a new monthly housing stipend, and a $1,000 a year stipend for books and supplies. The new bill also gives Reserve and Guard members who have been activated for more than 90 days since 9/11 access to the same GI Bill benefits.
NOTE: The Department of Veterans Affairs is currently NOT accepting applications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You should check the VA GI Bill website regularly to determine when VA will begin accepting Post-9/11 GI Bill applications submitted online or by mail.
The following fact sheet provides a quick reference to answer the following questions you may have about Senator Webb’s Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Benefits Start Date
This new GI Bill is set to go into effect on August 1, 2009. However, as with any new legislation, it could take some time for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to begin paying benefits. Benefits will not be paid for any training or education programs completed before July 31, 2009.
Applying for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill
VA is not currently accepting applications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill; however, once VA begins accepting applications, you are encouraged to submit your application on-line. VA will determine your eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and issue you a Certificate of Eligibility.
The New Post-9/11 GI Bill does not go into effect until August 1, 2009; the VA is working to get the processes in place to start taking applications. However at this point it is unknown as to when the application process will begin.
Eligibility for the New GI Bill
If you have served a total of at least 90 consecutive days on active duty in the Armed Forces since Sept. 11, 2001, you’re eligible. However, the amount of benefits you receive under this program are determined by the actual amount of accumulated post 9/11 service you have.
Eligibility Details From VA:
At a minimum, you must have served at least 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001 and be discharged due to a service-connected disability, or served an aggregate of 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and:
To be eligible for the full benefit, you must have three years of active duty service after 9/11 or have been discharged due to a service-connected disability.
If you are an officer who graduated from a service academy or received ROTC scholarships, you also qualify for the new GI Bill benefits. However, your ROTC/Service Academy associated obligated active-duty service time does not count toward the three years necessary to qualify for the full benefits.
Note: You didn’t have to opt-in for the Montgomery GI Bill to be eligible for this program.
New GI Bill Payment Rates
The Post 9/11 GI Bill will provide up to 100% of your tuition. In addition, the program provides a monthly housing stipend a stipend of up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies. If you attend less than full-time will receive a portion of the payment based on the number of units of study.
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:
Under the new GI Bill you will be provided tuition up to the highest established charges for full-time undergraduate students charged by the public institution of higher education in the State in which you are enrolled.
One of the added features of this tuition payment plan is that the tuition will be paid directly to the school, relieving you of the responsibility. This is similar to the process used for military tuition assistance.
Monthly Housing Stipend
If you are enrolled in a traditional college program taking more than a half-time to full-time student, you will be paid a monthly housing stipend equal to the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. The average housing stipend will be approximately $1,200 a month, based on the zip code of the school. However, if you attend 100% distance learning programs such as correspondence courses and online you will not qualify for this stipend.
Note: Under the current rules for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the following students DO NOT qualify for the living (housing) stipend:
Book and Supply Stipend
You will receive a lump sum payment the first month of each quarter, semester, or term. The payment will help cover the cost of books, supplies, equipment, and other educational fees for that academic term. The payment amount will be equal to either a quarter or half of the annual $1,000 cap for that academic year, depending on how the academic year is divided – quarter or semester terms.
Benefits Expiration Date
Unlike the Montgomery GI Bill, the new GI Bill will allow you to use this benefit for up to 15 years after your last discharge or separation from active duty.
Licensing and Certification Payments
This new GI Bill will provide up to $2,000 to cover the cost of one licensing or certification test. This benefit is not charged against your 36 month entitlement.
Like the Montgomery GI Bill, the new GI Bill will provide up to a maximum of $1,200 for tutorial assistance. The program will pay up to $100 per month, for a maximum of 12 months. This benefit is not charged against your 36 month entitlement.
Transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits: The Department of Defense (DoD) is authorized to allow individuals who, on or after August 1, 2009, have served at least 6 years in the Armed Forces and who agree to serve at least another 4 years in the Armed Forces to transfer unused entitlement to their dependents (spouse, children). The Department of Defense may, by regulation, impose additional eligibility requirements and limit the number of months transferable to not less than 18 months.
Transfer of Unused Education Benefits under MGIB (Chapter 30), 1606, or 1607 to Family Members. The Department of Defense is authorized to allow individuals who have served at least 6 years in the Armed Forces and who agree to serve at least another 4 years in the Armed Forces to transfer unused entitlement to their dependents (spouse, children) under chapters 30, 1606, and 1607.
The Department of Defense may, by regulation, impose additional eligibility requirements and limit the number of months transferable to not less than 18 months.
NOTE: DoD must develop regulations and provide VA with eligibility information before the VA can make payments under this provision. The ability to transfer benefits is limited to those currently serving in the military with some limited provisions for those retiring over the next few years.
The following table highlights the differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the New GI Bill.
Affects on Existing GI Bill Benefits
If you are already enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill and also meet the criteria for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have the option to transfer your remaining MGIB benefits to the new program.
For many veterans this will be a good option. However, due to the tuition limits set by this new GI Bill, many veterans who are pursuing a post-graduate degree may find the MGIB better suits their needs. This is also true for those students pursuing an online degree, as this new benefit will not pay the housing stipend to students enrolled in distance learning programs.
Further Eligibility Details: