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Are Veterans With Expired Montgomery GI Bill Benefits Now Being Allowed to Use Those Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have been hearing rumors that veterans who did not use all of their eligibility, but are now past those 10 years of eligibility from the first Montgomery GI Bill, are now being allowed to use up the remaining GI Bill. I don’t believe this is true, but just in case I thought I should ask. I work in a Veterans Upward Bound program and would be delighted if some of our older veterans who used none of their GI Bill due to issues upon discharge – most specifically Vietnam Veterans, could use the rest of their GI Bill benefits now to attend college.

A: What you are hearing is not entirely true in that veterans can’t use expired Montgomery GI Bill benefits. However, there is a new GI Bill called VRAP that may help some of your clients. The VA just started taking applications for the program on May 15th. Basically the eligibility requirements are:
• at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
• unemployed
• received at least an other-than-dishonorable discharge
• not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational
Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
• not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
• not enrolled in a federal or state job training program

However, the program is limited to 45,000 participants during this fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. If accepted into the program, participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance paid at the current Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty rate of $1,473 per month. The Department of Labor (DOL) will offer employment assistance to every veteran completing the program.

Participants must enroll in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an associate’s degree, non-college degree, or certificate, and train the veteran for a high demand occupation.
Hopefully this blog, and VRAP, can be of some assistance to some of your clients.

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