Can I Use FAFSA Benefits in Conjunction With Chapter 35?
Q: Am I still eligible for FAFSA if I apply and begin receiving the Chapter 35 benefits? Also, are the benefits retroactive?
A: You certainly are and I encourage you to do so. Also don’t overlook applying for other scholarship, grants or work-study programs as Chapter 35 does not pay that much – up to $1,003 per month for up to 44 months.
Out of that money, you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc. So any additional money you qualify for, you can greatly use to fund the unpaid part of your education. I would only apply for student loans as a last resort as you have to pay these back. No use going into the working world $20,000 in debt, which is the current average for students using student loans.
As far as if Chapter 35 benefits are retroactive or not, they may be. The VA can go back up to one year and pay benefits, however, the trick is you had to be eligible for said benefits during the time you are trying to claim. For example if you are trying to claim benefits back in April 2013, but you were not eligible for Chapter 35 benefits until June, Then they would only retroactively pay you back to the date in June when you became eligible.
And if you think about it, that makes sense. How could they pay you benefits for a program you did not have at the time?