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Can Someone Please Explain How to Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I just got back from Iraq, and wanted to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill. The problem is I’m 44 years old and have never enrolled in college, could someone please explain what I need to do to get started?

A: Yes, I can explain the process. First, go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return you will get your Certificate of Eligibility. Take your certificate with you when you register for school. That will identify you as a student using Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Once you are registered, your school will send in a Certificate of Enrollment which tells the VA you are registered for school. The combination of your certificates of enrollment and eligibility start the payment process.

Toward the beginning of the semester, you will receive your book stipend paid at the rate of $41.67 per credit up to a maximum of $1,000 per year. You do not need to send a receipt for your books to the VA. They give you a fixed amount based on each credit you take and if your books run more, then you pay the difference out of your pocket. If they run less, you keep the extra amount.

Sometime after you receive your book stipend, you will get a housing allowance. It is based on the zip code of your school, paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents and how many credits you are taking.

The VA will pay your school directly your tuition and eligible fees, so your housing allowance is yours to spend as you like, assuming you bought books with your book stipend.

There you have it – the complete process. If you run into a problem, contact your VA Certifying Official at you school. They can help you with any GI Bill problem.

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