This morning, the VA will begin to accept applications for Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, or Chapter 33. Eligible veterans should visit the VA's new G.I. Bill Web site, www.gibill.va.gov, to print out an application form and to learn more about the new benefit.
Last week American Veteran reported that veterans eligible for Chapter 33 should play close attention to their usage of any previous G.I. Bill chapters, as this will effect your eligibility for the new benefit. Veterans with fewer than twelve months remaining on their previous G.I. Bill entitlements should completely use their old benefits before enrolling in Chapter 33. Veterans who have any time remaining on their old benefits will only be eligible for that limited amount of time under the new benefit. However, if a veteran has completely exhausted their previous G.I. Bill benefits, they will automatically be eligible for an additional 12 months of Chapter 33.
For example, I have only three months remaining of my Chapter 1607 Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) G.I. Bill benefits. If I chose to enroll in Chapter 33 today, I would only be eligible to receive three months worth of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits. However, if I use my remaining three months of Chapter 1607, I will then be eligible for another 12 months of Chapter 33 benefits.
The decision to enroll in Chapter 33 is IRREVOCABLE, so be sure to understand your personal entitlements before filing for the new benefit.
In regards to transferability, service members who wish to pass along their Chapter 33 benefits to dependents must be on active duty on August 1, 2009, when the new benefit takes effect. Service members must also have at least six years of service on active duty with a commitment to serve an additional four.
However, DoD has also outlined special rules for service members who are slated to retire before August 1, 2012 or who have a minimum of 10 years in service, so that they will also be able to take advantage of Chapter 33 transferability. These special criteria only apply to service members up to 2012 and will not be extended. To view a DoD fact sheet on transferability, Click Here.
Service members who opt to transfer their Chapter 33 benefits may transfer any or all of the benefit to eligible dependents for up to 36 months worth of schooling.
Check back regularly with American Veteran Online for further updates on this summer's implementation of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and, as always, please let us know if you have any specific questions.