Returning to civilian life after the military can be a challenge, but there are numerous resources available to help soldiers find civilian success after serving. One of the most valuable benefits veterans are eligible for as they work on transitioning into civilian life is the GI Bill. This opens the door for higher education that’s funded in-part or entirely by the government.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a bit different than its predecessors and there are some facts veterans will want to know about before they weigh their options. This bill was created in 2008 to update the older version put in place for World War II veterans. Soldiers can become eligible for this benefit in as little as 30 days of continuous service, but most find the 100% benefit mark is reached after 36 cumulative months in uniform.
Benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill can also be earned by those eligible for the now-outdated Montgomery GI Bill. Veterans can convert their benefits solely to the Post 9/11, or choose to exhaust Montgomery benefits before pursuing benefits under the Post 9/11. It’s best for veterans to consider the options closely before converting.
Here are 10 facts about the Post 9/11 GI Bill veterans should know:
- Benefits are not taxable. Veterans do not have to claim GI Bill proceeds on their taxes, nor do they need to report them to the Internal Revenue Service.
- The new GI Bill does not offer break pay. That means veterans need to be enrolled in school full-time, year-round to earn their pay.
- Students who chose to participate in the Buy Up program do not receive an increased $600 buy-up amount under chapters 30 or 1607. In addition, the money will not be refunded under the Post 9/11 bill.
- Students who paid the $1,200 enrollment fee for the Montgomery GI Bill and then switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill can get the enrollment fee back.
- Post 9/11 GI Bill students can receive up to $2,000 for a certification of licensing exam or a work-study program. The bill also pays up to $1,000 a month for tutoring assistance.
- Students eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill can exchange their benefits for Post 9/11 benefits. It is also possible in some cases to exhaust the Montgomery benefits then receive Post 9/11 benefits. Students cannot receive more than 48 months of total benefits, nor can they receive benefits from both programs at the same time.
- ROTC graduates are eligible for Post 9/11 benefits, but their time in the academy does not count toward service requirements. They must sign an obligation of service document to receive benefits.
- Students who were eligible for a College Fund or Reserve Kicker benefit can continue to qualify for this under the Post 9/11 bill.
- The National Call to Service Program can enhance Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits by adding such incentives as a $5,000 cash bonus, repayment of student loans up to $18,000 and an entitlement to an allowance.
- Though the initial Post 9/11 GI Bill did not cover schools in California, this has since changed.
Making a successful transition into civilian life often calls for obtaining a higher education. The Post 9/11 GI Bill paves the way by removing many of the financial obstacles veterans may face.