dcsimg
This website is not affiliated with the U.S. government or military.
Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’ve been speaking with my school’s certifying official about parking fees (my school used to charge them to the student account, which would then theoretically be covered under the GI Bill). She says that even if they were charged to the student account, the VA would not pay for it, as it’s not a mandatory fee. However, I know several veterans attending other schools who also do not have mandatory parking fees – but they’re still being covered by the VA. Are fees being “mandatory” up to the certifying official?

A: Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible fees paid for by the VA are those fees the school charges each and every student, or each and every student in a particular degree program, as some student pay additional fees due to the program they are in such as nursing, medical and engineering students, to go to school. Typical covered fees include freshmen, library, student activity, etc. of which I would think parking would be a covered fee, if everyone having a car pays it.

I can’t say for sure, but I imagine a school documents their mandatory fees when they establish a relationship with the VA, so it could be dependent on what is on your school’s list as far as what they have documented as mandatory fees.

The school VA certifying official doesn’t establish the list, however, in their contact with the VA, they may be the one to send in the approved list to the VA. If there is anyone from a school that has experience with this, please contact me on this blog, so I can pass along how mandatory fees paid by the VA are established.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I recently had issues with my bank, and have switched to another one. However, I still need to change my direct deposit for my Post 9/11 GI Bill funds. I know you can do it through WAVE with your MGIB, however I don’t have that option in this program. Who do I have to get a hold of to get the account changed in the New GI Bill?

A: All you have to do to change your Post 9/11 GI Bill direct deposit information is submit a new VA Form 22-1990 and include your new deposit information in Block 7. Put a remark in Part IX saying you are switching banks and Block 7 has the new EFT information.

I hope you did not close out your old bank account yet. If you get a deposit from the VA to your old bank account, and it is no longer open, your deposit will get returned to the VA. Then it can be a real hassle trying to get that payment resent out to your new bank account.

A better plan is to leave your old account open, make the Direct Deposit change of information on VA Form 22-1990, and then close your old bank account after you start receiving deposits in your new account. When you fill out your VA Form 22-1990, be really sure you put in the correct routing and account numbers. If either is wrong, the EFT process won’t be able to find your account to deposit your money.

Experience is a great teacher, however, sometimes she can be cruel, but she teaches you lessons you don’t forget.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I got my award letter for the Post 9/11 GI Bill prior to signing up for school. My full time classes started September 13th. When will I get my housing allowance and when will I get my book allowance. Thanks!

A: It takes about 8 to 10 weeks to process a new Post 9/11 GI Bill application, so I would not expect you to see any money before the middle to the end of November. Once you start getting paid, your money will come on a monthly recurring schedule, although you will always be a month behind in getting paid. When you start a new term, you should see your book stipend toward the beginning of the month after you start school with your housing allowance either coming with or following shortly after your book stipend.

Because a lot of new students start school for the fall term, the VA gets swamped with applications, so it could even take longer that the time frame I mentioned earlier. Because you never know when you will get paid when using the GI Bill, I always recommend students have at least a semester, or whatever the term period your school uses, in reserve, so you can pay your bills up front and then use your GI Bill money to replenish your funds in your account.

I see too many students thinking the GI Bill will pay everything up front and it doesn’t work that way. Students don’t have sufficient capital when they start school and they are soon in financial trouble before they even finish their first term.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am going to be chaptered out for failure of APFT and was wondering if I would get a portion of the G.I. Bill. I will have been in for over a year when my chapter is carried out.

A: Whether you get to use any GI Bill benefits will depend on how the military codes your character of service. If they give you anything but a fully honorable character, you will not be able to use your benefits. If they code you as fully honorable, then your benefits will depend on which GI Bill you have.

If you signed up for the Montgomery GI Bill and made your $1,200 contribution, you won’t get anything, because you did not finish your enlistment contracted amount of time of either two or three years, depending on what you signed up for when you enlisted.

You would qualify for 36 months of educational entitlements under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, however, you would only be at the 50% tier, which is still better than nothing. The VA would pay 50% of your tuition and fees to your school and you would get 50% of the housing allowance and book stipend. But none of this will matter if they code you something different than fully honorable.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Ron, Someone forwarded me one of your answers to a GI Bill question concerning transferability. As someone who has been working day and night on the New GI Bill 2.0 legislation I can assure you that any reports about limiting transferability eligibility are incorrect. The provision of S.3447 that was mentioned in some media articles a month or so back has been removed and DOD has no intention of lowering one of their biggest retention tools when they don’t have to pay for it. As someone who works with GI Bill cases regularly… we both know how much we need to finish rounding off the rough edges of the new GI Bill. I hope you can spread the word that new GI Bill 2.0 (S.3447/H.R. 5933) is going to help thousands of student veterans.

A: I’ll do what I can to spread the word. I know I was displeased when I read about them offering (or not offering) the transfer option based off of recruiting and retention needs. I’m glad they go that nonsense out of their head and that part has been removed.

Yes, the GI Bill 2.0 (that was the first time I heard it referred by that name) will help present and future Post 9/11 GI Bill holders for years to come, provided it passes.

So again, as I have so many times in the past, I plead with all the readers to please, please contact your legislators and ask them to support S.3447/H.R. 5933, along with H.R. 950 and H.R. 3577. Passing these important follow-on bills to the original Post 9/11 GI Bill will open up education opportunities for thousands of servicemembers, veterans and family members with transferred benefits. Hopefully, this post will go viral to get maximum exposure and reaction.  And a special thank-you to Patrick for the GI Bill work he is doing on behalf of all of us.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Ron, Someone forwarded me one of your answers to a GI Bill question concerning transferability. As someone who has been working day and night on the New GI Bill 2.0 legislation I can assure you that any reports about limiting transferability eligibility are incorrect.

The provision of S.3447 that was mentioned in some media articles a month or so back has been removed and DOD has no intention of lowering one of their biggest retention tools when they don’t have to pay for it. As someone who works with GI Bill cases regularly… we both know how much we need to finish rounding off the rough edges of the new GI Bill. I hope you can spread the word that new GI Bill 2.0 (S.3447/H.R. 5933) is going to help thousands of student veterans.

A: I’ll do what I can to spread the word. I know I was displeased when I read about them offering (or not offering) the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer option based off of recruiting and retention needs. I’m glad they go that nonsense out of their head and that part has been removed.

Yes, the GI Bill 2.0 (that was the first time I heard it referred by that name) will help present and future Post 9/11 GI Bill holders for years to come, provided it passes. So again, as I have so many times in the past, I plead with all the readers to please, please contact your legislators and ask them to support S.3447/H.R. 5933, along with H.R. 950 and H.R. 3577.

Passing these important follow-on bills to the original Post 9/11 GI Bill will open up education opportunities for thousands of servicemembers, veterans and family members with transferred benefits. Hopefully, this post will go viral to get maximum exposure and reaction. And a special thank-you to Patrick for the GI Bill work he is doing on behalf of all of us.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired from the Air Force after 26 years, with the New GI Bill. Will I be able to transfer benefits to my wife? I was told this was possible but after reading the FAQ section it looks like only active duty members are able to transfer benefits.

A:  What you read about transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits in the FAQ section is true. Only those still on active duty can make a transfer of benefits request (at least for right now). There is a bill in the legislature right now that if passed would allow veterans with 20 years or more of active duty service who retire after December 8, 2001 but before July 31, 2009, the option to make a transfer.

This group of veterans fully qualifies for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but because they retired before the Post 9/11 GI Bill went into effect, they never had the opportunity to make a transfer of benefits. What I don’t know is how this bill will affect those retiring after August 1, 2009, but never made a transfer while they were still on active duty.

If you fall in the above date range, and you think this bill could help you (or if you want to help the thousands of veterans this affects), then contact your legislatures and ask they support S.3477 and H.R. 5933.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I want to go to film school in California, after my 3 years active duty in the Army. I already have a BA in psychology. Three years on active duty will almost, but not fully cover, the 36 months needed for Yellow Ribbon and I am wondering if I should rethink the three years and go for four years instead, so I can get Yellow Ribbon. My question is how much better is Yellow Ribbon than my other options, if only serving three years with the Post 9/11 GI BILL. I am not from California, so I would have to become a resident and then go to film school. I just need some advice on this matter. Thank you for your time.

A: O.K., I’m missing something, because when I went to school (and no we were not using slate and chalk to write with) three years and 36 months were the same thing. If you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 100% level, then you also have the Yellow Ribbon option. And you will qualify for the maximum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit with three years of service. You can go four years on active duty if you want, but it will not get you any additional Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

For students attending graduate school, private school, paying out-state tuition, or any student whose tuition and fees exceeds what the VA will pay, there is nothing better than the Yellow Ribbon Program. If your school is a Yellow Ribbon school, meaning they have a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA, they will pay up to 50% of the amount over and above what your GI Bill will not pay and the VA will pay an equal amount. Just make sure the course you want to take is one they will cover in their Yellow Ribbon program before enrolling.

The other point I don’t understand is why do you have to become a California resident before you can go to your film school? They don’t accept non-residents? Outside of possibly having to pay out-state tuition, I don’t know why you would have to (or want to) wait for state residency. That will probably set back your schooling by at least a year.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m still in the military and I had transferred my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to my wife. We have now decided that once I get out I should use them. How do I change the transfer and get my benefits back? Thanks!

A: Being you are still in, you should be able to go back in the TEB website and make the change. If you can’t get access, or it won’t let you, then you can always do it like those of us that are already out – write the VA a letter and indicate by name and SSN, which record you want to change and how you want to change it, such as I would like to revoke 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlements from my wife, Jane Doe SSN 123-45-6789.

Even after retiring, the sponsor always maintains the option to revoke and reallocate Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits as he/she thinks is best.

If you have kids that someday you think may go to college, transfer as little as a month or two to each child while you are still in. The benefit of doing this now is after you retire, you can add to their existing benefits, but you can’t make an initial allocation to them once you are out. That has to be done while you are still on active duty. It is a smart way to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer option.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I used “Top-Up” to supplement my TA for a few graduate level courses. Can I transfer the remaining benefits to my children?

A: If you are still on active duty, and meet the transfer eligibility requirements, you can. One of the stipulations of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is you have to be on active duty “on or after 1 August 2009”. Before you can access the transfer option, you have to have served at least six years on active duty, of which at least three years have been after September 10, 2001, and extend for another four years. If you are within four years of retirement, then the additional time will be prorated to a lesser amount.

To transfer benefits to your children, go to the Transfer of Entitlement Benefits (TEB) website and enter in your child’s (or each child’s) record how many months you would like to transfer. After submitting, you will see the Status field change to “Pending”. Once the request is approved in 8 to 10 weeks, the Status field will change to “Approved” and the Status Date will have a date in it.

To use the benefit, the each child has to go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990e. In return, he/she will get a Certificate of Eligibility which he/she will need when enrolling in school.

If you can’t access a child’s record to enter a number of months, or the record is “grayed out”, then either you’re not eligible to make a transfer or the child’s record is not correct in DEERS.