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Do I Qualify for Any Education Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was in the U.S Coast Guard (retired) 1984-2004. When I enlisted, I was under the old VEAP system. I believe I cashed out of that program, but I am not sure if I was ever offered any another opportunity to enroll into any other GI Bill. Are there any education benefits that I may qualify for?

A: There certainly is at least one – the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As long as you have a honorable discharge and served for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001, you qualify for 36 months of education benefit – no financial contribution needed.

Depending on when you got out in 2004 will determine your tier level or the percentage of benefit you will get. A full three years after September 10, 2001 would put you at the 100% tier. If you retired before the September date, then you will be at the 90% level.

To start using your entitlements, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility. Take the certificate with you when you enroll in school.

The VA will pay up your school directly for your tuition and fees up to the in-state maximum of your tier percentage. You get a monthly housing allowance and book stipend both paid at your tier percentage level. If you are at the 100% level, you also can use the Yellow Ribbon Program, if your tuition exceeds what the VA will pay, provided your school is a Yellow Ribbon School.

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