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How Do I Keep My REAP Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently a drilling reservist and I ETS March 2011. I am still trying to receive my owed benefits to me although I fear when I ETS I will lose my Chapter 1607 eligibility. I keep reading I have to be actively drilling to receive them. If I do not receive my benefits by my ETS time, do I miss out on those owed benefits to me? Thank you.

A: Just so everyone knows, Chapter 1607 is the Reserve Education Assistance Program or REAP. It was the forerunner of the Post 9/11 GI Bill for Reservists and National Guardsmen who were mobilized to active duty after September 10, 2001 for a contingency operation.

What you are reading is true – your REAP benefits are good for only as long as you continue serving in the Selected Reserve. My question is have you considered switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

If you served at least 90 days on mobilization, you should get 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits payable at the 40% level. If you had one year of qualifying mobilized time, you would be at the 60% level. The Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits would stay with you when you get out and you would have up to 15 years from your date of discharge to use them.

I do want to caution you as the Post 9/11 GI Bill generally only pays for degree-producing courses. If you are thinking of taking a trade, technical, license or certification, then you should stick with REAP and use as much of it as you can starting now.

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