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How Do I Apply for the Retraining Program Passed on November 21, 2011?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: President Obama and Congress passed the Veterans Job Bill on 21 Nov. This bill included an additional 12 months of the GI Bill for vets over the age of 35. Does this apply to both the Post 9/11 and the MGIB? If so, when does this go into effect? How do I apply?

A: What the Bill states is you have to be between the ages of 35 and 60 to use the additional training benefits and any GI Bill benefits (including both Montgomery GI Bills (MGIB-AD and MGIB-SR), Post 9/11, VEAP, REAP, VocRehab or Chapter 35), must have either been exhausted or expired.

If that is the case in your situation, then you may be eligible for 12 months or retraining, however, there are also other requirements you must meet to participate in the retraining program, including:
- Having an honorable discharge from your last tour of duty in the Armed Forces.
- Having been unemployed for a specified period of time yet to be determined by the Secretary of Labor, but first consideration will go to veterans who have been unemployed for at least 26 weeks or more.
- Certifying your enrollment in the program monthly.
- Applying prior to October 1, 2013. The application procedures are still being worked out at the time of this writing. Once known, we will post them on this blog.

According to the Act, those using the benefit will be paid at the Montgomery GI Bill rate which as of this writing is $1,473 per month.

The Bill does limit the number of veterans that can participate in the retraining program to 55,000 between the period of October 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014, so it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The retraining must be offered at a community college or vocational-technical school and must lead to an associate’s degree, certificate, license or other type of program completion documentation and be in an occupation designated as in high demand by the Secretary of Labor.

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