FAQs - Chapter 30 & 33 Educational Benefits along with VR&E Chapter 31 Benefits

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In this section : Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), Post 9-11 GI Bill, and Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Benefits will be discussed in detail (as it pertains to healthcare professional students) along with commonly asked questions pertaining to each. All references are from the Veteran Affairs Department of Education and Employability website. Look for updates as these benefits change more frequently than most.

***(Chapter 30) Montgomery GI Bill:***

What is it? Chapter 30 Benefits is an education benefits program to Veterans and Service-members who have / had at least two or three years of active duty service (based on first enlistment obligation). The type of assistance may cover college degree and certificate programs, licensing and certification tests, certain entrance examinations, and correspondence courses. Common usage is for 36 months of college education depending how much the individual service member contributed into the $600 buy-up program.

What is the $600 buy-up program? Some Service-members may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5,400 in additional GI Bill benefits. The additional contribution must be made while on active duty. View the following website for additional information:

$600.00 Buy-up Rates - Education and Training

Am I eligible? Eligibility for Chapter 30 benefits is ranked based on four categories: visit the following website for details: Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) - Education and Training

How long is it good for? 10 years from separation of the uniformed services. Waivers may be submitted for extensions depending on life circumstances.

**Cons**: A service member will qualify for 36 months of academic education coverage based on a monthly full-time payment rate of $1,994. This will increase October 1st of every year and requires no reapplication to qualify for the adjusted rate. For any amount above the payment rate you put towards tuition, additional months will be taken away from your Chapter 30 benefits. For example, let’s say you get $7,976 and the current rate is $1,994. Divide these numbers and you will be charged 4 months of benefits.

Keep in mind: If you exhaust your 36 months of Chapter 30 entitlements, you may qualify for an additional 12 months Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) GI Bill benefits. You must NOT have 1 day left or you will only qualify for 1 day of Chapter 33 (VA is very picky when it comes to giving out money).

For Reference, please visit: Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) - Education and Training
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***(Chapter 33) Post 9-11 GI Bill***

What is it? Chapter 33 is yet another education benefit similar to the Chapter 30 MGIB with a few bonus caveats: All tuition is covered for any public school in the U.S. with a $1000 annual book stipend and Monthly Housing Allowance (Tax Free). Housing pay rate is based on the E-5 with dependents rate of the zip code of the university. These benefits last for 36 months toward education. Private and few chosen foreign schools (Not all Caribbean Schools for example) will only cover the national maximum academic year cap of $22,805.34 and nothing more. For private institutions, check their eligibility of the yellow ribbon program.

**For Housing rates please use GI Bill Comparison Tool** https://www.va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program? This program is a binding contract with the VA and your institution in order to choose the amount of tuition and fees it wishes to contribute. Upon an agreed amount, the VA will match the amount and pay its portion directly to the institution. Visit the following website to know how much your institution will cover with the joint yellow ribbon program:

Yellow Ribbon Program Information 2018-2019 - Education and Training

As a veteran, what states do I qualify for the in-state tuition rate? All public schools in the 50 states within 3 years of leaving active duty service.

What if I choose to attend school online? If you attend school exclusively online, your housing pay is $840.50 but if you attend classes part time or less you will NOT be eligible for housing allowance (likewise if a spouse is currently active duty and you’re utilizing the benefits).

How do I Qualify? For those with at least 90 days of active duty service from September 11th 2001 to the present and still continuing active duty service, or have an honorable discharge including but not limited to a service-connected disability after 30 days may be eligible for the program (along with a $1200 buy-in while on active duty for those serving at least 12 consecutive months).

**Eligibility Percentages as of 2018 - 2019** (Note: Purple Heart Recipients qualify for 100%)

1) 36 months of Active Duty Service: 100%

2) 30+ consecutive days on active duty service with a discharge service-connected disability: 100%

3) 30 months yet less than 36 months: 90%

4) 24 months yet less than 30 months: 80%

5) 18 months but less than 24 months: 70%

6) 12 months but less than 18 months: 60%

7) 6 months but less than 12 months: 50%

8) 90 days but less than 6 months: 40%

Can I Transfer my Education Benefits to my spouse and kids?
Yes! Service members may have the option to transfer all or some unused benefits to their children or spouse. This transfer must take place while the individual is on active duty. For more information, please visit:

Transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill to Spouse and Dependents - Education and Training

What if I live in a rural area trying to attend school away from home? For those in rural areas in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile, you may accept a $500 relocation payment if the institution is at least 500 miles away.

Any Cons I Should consider?: You can be reimbursed up to $2,000 per National Testing Program / Licensing and Certification test (USMLE steps, NAPLEX, etc). Keep in mind, your entitlement will be charged one month for every $1,902.61 paid to you ROUNDED to the nearest non-zero whole month. In other words, one month of entitlement will be charged against you per test. Also, once you elect Chapter 33, you must forfeit your Chapter 30 benefits.

I heard I could extend my education benefits to 48 months. Is this true? If you completely exhaust your MGIB (Chapter 30), you may opt in to the Chapter 33 (Post 9-11) Benefits for an extra 12 months (totaling 48 months but your benefit for the program must be completely exhausted).

for Reference, please visit: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp

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(Chapter 31) VR&E Benefits

What is it? Voc-Rehab (Chapter 31) is for those service-members expected to receive an honorable (or other than dishonorable) discharge with a memorandum rating of 20% or more from the VA OR at least a 10% service-connected disability rating from the VA. It is geared for gainful employment due to a severe handicap disability brought on by the military. As such, you will be appointed a Voc-Rehab Counselor (VRC).

Is it another Educational Benefit? No!!!!! (Allow me to elaborate): This is considered an entry level job employment benefit that "may-be-considered" for educational purposes. For SDN members, becoming a physician, pharmacist, nurse, dentist, physician-assistant, physical therapist, etc etc may be considered an entry level job employment that requires schooling (thus, may seem as if its an educational benefit).

If I use this for school, what are my benefits? The educational benefits can be 48 months of no cap tuition coverage at any institution (public or private). Along with tuition coverage, Chapter 31 will cover additional cost of books and supplies in support of your “Rehabilitation to seek Employment.” Examples of coverage can be a new laptop, printer, lab supplies, Exam prep material and professional examination tests (USMLE steps, NAPLEX, etc ) as well as child care service cost for single parents at no cap of cost whatsoever. With proper waivers, a disabled veteran may extend the 48 months to cover additional schooling such as Med School, Pharmacy, PA, etc etc.

What's the Housing Allowance for Chapter 31? To see the latest subsistence rates visit:

https://www.benefits.va.gov/VOCREHAB/docs/SAFY19.pdf

Chapter 31 Recipients, please keep in mind: If you have at least 1 day left of your Chapter 33 post 9-11 GI Bill benefits, you automatically get the extension of your housing allowance at the Chapter 33 rate for the remainder of your Chapter 31 benefits (much better rating offered than on the Voc Rehab Benefit plan).

What do I need to be aware of? For every rated benefit you take from the Chapter 33, it will go towards your Chapter 31. You cannot use Chapter 31 THEN use Chapter 33 to extend past 48 months of service. You can only receive a maximum education benefit of 48 months (rare circumstances this can be extended with Chapter 31 exclusively as mentioned earlier. See your VRC counselor for assistance).

Is my disability rating my only qualification? Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain this benefit based on disability rating alone. The veteran must present his/her case that their disability handicap is so severe that they no longer can work based on their current education qualifications. For example, If a veteran developed a degenerative disc in his/her lower back, he/she cannot work construction anymore based on past certificates. Thus, the veteran will apply to be an accountant with extra padding for their seat.

What are examples of proof I may need to plead my case for Chapter 31 Benefits?


Burden of Proof
: In order to utilize benefits for healthcare professional programs such as Dental, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Nursing, or Medical School: an individual must plea his/her case in having evidence as to why you cannot currently obtain a job with your listed service-connected disabilities. In other words, if you have a Bio Degree and can prove as to why you cannot be a teacher or lab assistant, you may plea your case to go to medical school with an acceptance in hand and a copy of your transcripts. You are selling your case to the Voc-Rehab Counselor (VRC) and must have a signing approval for your educational needs to be covered. Period of eligibility ends 12 years from the date of separation from the military.


Recommendations: Have a copy of your DD-214, College Transcripts, copy of medical conditions (ie PTSD, missing limbs, TBI, etc), and acceptance letter of university in hand. This burden of proof is geared toward forcing the hand of your VRC to send your paperwork and not give them a chance to reject your plea. Remember, the purpose of the entitlement is to establish no employability thus requiring you to seek higher healthcare professional programs at the expense of the program not you.

As a disabled veteran, you have earned the right to appeal and reapply if you are turned down. Exhaust all of your options and seek further guidance from different counselors in your region.

If you would like to speak with experienced veterans or VRC's about your case, please join the Vocational Rehab, Chapter 31 (Veteran Affairs) Discussion Group and complete your verification (3 Questions) to join today.

For additional reference, please visit: https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/eligibility_and_entitlement.asp
 
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