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What Does Relinquishing My VEAP for the Post 9/11 GI Bill Mean?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired from the Reserve in 2004; my son graduated from high school in 2011. I applied for the Post 9/11 GI Bill in hopes of transferring it over to him. (I did serve 12 months in Iraq in 03). I was told that since I am a retiree, I do not qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Today, I received a letter from the VA asking me if I want to relinquish my REAP Chapter 1607 to receive the Post 9/11. Nobody will answer the phone at the VA when I call. Can someone please help me understand what this means!

A:What you were told about not qualifying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill was not entirely true. With your 12-month tour in 2003, you have 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 60% tier.

The part you do not qualify for is the transfer of benefits option. To make a transfer, you have to be still serving at the time you make your request. You are in a Catch-22 in that when you retired in 2004, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was not even a valid GI Bill yet, but because the date of eligibility goes back to September 10, 2001, you have some coverage under it, just never an opportunity to transfer it.

Because your New GI Bill eligibility goes back prior to when that GI Bill came on-board on August 1, 2009, you have pre-Post 9/11 GI Bill coverage under the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP). It is a GI Bill made especially for Selected Reserve personnel that deployed prior to August 1, 2009.

In your case, the VA is asking if you want to convert from REAP to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In most cases it is a good thing to do, but you’ll have to work the numbers both ways.

Under REAP, you would get a monthly amount of $988.80 if you had at least 365 days of eligible service. If you are even one day under, than you would get $629.50. Out of that, you have to pay your own tuition, fees and books. However under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays up to 60% of your tuition directly to your school and you get that same percentage of the housing allowance and book stipend.

Because you are at the 60% tier, and if your school is located in a low-cost zip code, REAP may be a better deal for you. As far as the book stipend, you would get $41.67 per credit per semester up to your $600.00 per year cap (60% of the $1,000 cap).

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