Whether you’re already utilizing your GI Bill benefits or looking to begin using it as part of an educational New Years’ resolution, you may have questions about how to get the most out of your benefits. Here are some of your most popular GI Bill questions, answered.
I need to apply. How do I do that, and what do I need?
Applying for the GI Bill can be done in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways to do so is online at www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/, but if you prefer, you could do it by mail or in person at your local VA office. Accredited representatives are also available to help you apply for your benefits should you need them. You will need to bring your social security number, bank account direct deposit information, and an understanding of your education and military history to complete the application.
I am enrolled in school. When will I receive my benefits from VA?
You will generally receive payment within two weeks of verifying your enrollment at the end of the month (or within one week if using direct deposit), but many things affect when you receive your payments. Your school must submit your enrollment to VA for processing to begin. If it’s the first time you are using benefits, it will take longer to process your payment than if you are re-enrolling. In general, it takes about a month to process an original claim and about a week for a re-enrollment. If VA needs to verify your service, things such as remarks from your certifying official on your enrollment can make processing longer. Processing times are longer in the fall than during other terms due to the volume of claims VA receives.
If you are receiving benefits under Montgomery GI Bill — Active Duty (MGIB-AD/Chapter 30) or Montgomery GI Bill — Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR/Chapter 1606), you must also verify your enrollment at the end of each month to receive payment for that month. Benefits are paid after each month of school is completed.
How does the Post 9/11 GI Bill affect active duty veterans?
Veterans who have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and received an honorable discharge will qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. To be eligible for the full benefit, a veteran must have served at least three years of active duty after September 10, 2001. Those who qualify for the MGIB-AD or the MGIB-SR will have the option to choose which benefit best suits their need.
The correlation between time served and the percentage of the maximum benefit payable is as follows:
- 36 months or received a Purple Heart: 100%
- 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability: 100%
- At least 30 months, but less than 36 months: 90%
- At least 24 months, but less than 30 months: 80%
- At least 18 months, but less than 24 months: 70%
- At least six months, but less than 18 months: 60%
- At least 90 days, but less than six months: 50%
What type of active duty counts for a Reserve or Guard member regarding the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
The following active duty qualifies for Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility:
- All Title 10 active duty supporting named contingency operations.
- Title 32 service for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training the National Guard.
- Title 32 service under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.
- All voluntary active duty, with the exception of active duty for medical care and medical evaluation.
- Title 10 service under 502(f): Title 10 service under 12301(h) for the purpose of receiving service-related medical care.
- A reservist who receives a Purple Heart for service occurring on or after September 11, 2001.
- Service under 12304, 12304a, and 12304b orders, mobilization to provide assistance in response to a major disaster or emergency or for preplanned missions in support of combatant commands.
- Individuals ordered to active duty under section 12301(h) of title 10, USC to receive authorized medical care, to be medically evaluated for disability or other purposes, or to complete a required Department of Defense healthcare study.
All forms of inactive duty training (drills and funeral honors), as well as annual training, do not qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit.
How do I verify my enrollment?
If you’re receiving the Montgomery GI Bill — Active Duty or Selected Reserve, use the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) or call our toll-free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone line at 1-877-VA-ECERT (1-877-823-2378) to verify your attendance.
If you’re receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you don’t need to verify your attendance.
Are VA Education Benefits taxable?
No. Any veterans’ benefits paid under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should not be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will not receive a W-2 from the VA. Per IRS Publication 970:
“Payments you receive for education, training, or subsistence under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tax-free. Do not include these payments as income on your federal tax return.
If you qualify for one or more of the education benefits discussed in chapters 2 through 13*, you may have to reduce the amount of education expenses qualifying for a specific benefit by part or all of your VA payments. This applies only to the part of your VA payments that is required to be used for education expenses.”
What if I receive a failing grade in one of my classes?
If you fail a class, you receive a “punitive grade” for that class. A punitive grade is a grade that doesn’t count as earned credit but is used in determining a student’s progress toward graduation requirements. This means that the grade you receive counts in your overall degree progress, albeit negatively. Since this grade counts towards your graduation progress, you are not required to repay any GI Bill money you received for that class.
You may retake the class in an attempt to receive credit towards graduation or raise your grade for the course, and you may receive GI Bill payment for retaking the class.
To learn more about your benefits or to answer any other questions you may have, visit gibill.custhelp.va.gov for more information.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs