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How Do I Convince the VA, I’m Not On Active Duty So I Can Get My Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Stipend?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I enlisted in the Active Army in March 2008, and just separated from service at the end of December because I won a 4 year Green to Gold Scholarship. Electing to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill, I received a payment for tuition as well as for books. I did not receive any money in the form of the BAH payment, and when I called the VA to ask why, they said that because I’m in a commissioning program that I am classified as “active” and active duty members are not eligible for the monthly BAH stipend.

I’m clearly not active duty, I believe ROTC falls under the Reserve component, and I am not collecting time in service as I would if I were active. On the GoArmy website GTG page it states that cadets are allowed to use their GI Bill. Another website specifically states that cadets can use their GI Bill regardless of whether or not they are on scholarship.

I think the biggest thing comes back to me be classified as active, when I think I should be classified under the reserves while I am in school. Am I correct in assuming that I should be entitled to my full Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, including the monthly BAH stipend? If not can you provide the supporting regulations or stipulations so I can see them for myself? Thanks.

A: There are actually three Green-to Gold programs:

  • Scholarship
  • Non-scholarship
  • Active duty.

With all three programs, you can use your GI Bill if eligible, but with the Active duty G2G, you would not get the housing allowance due to you already collecting BAH and your active duty pay. I agree, it sounds like the VA is thinking you are in the Active duty program.

You have to be careful about what you read on websites. They may say you can use your GI Bill, but what they don’t say is you might not get the full benefits from your GI Bill while in the G2G program. The Active duty G2G is a good example. Various websites say you can use your Post 9/11 GI Bill while in the program (and you can), but they don’t say anything about you not receiving the housing allowance. Right now, it would mean only getting your tuition and fees paid.

Starting this fall, active duty members would also start getting the book stipend, which brings up an interesting point – if you were still classified by the VA as being on active duty, you shouldn’t be getting the book stipend right now.

I recommend you go in and see your school’s VA Certifying Official and let that person help you work through this. Getting something fixed at the VA can be a real challenge.

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