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Will I Be Eligible for the New GI Bill If I Go Back Into the Reserves?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am going back into the Reserves after a long hiatus. I was originally under the old VEAP program. Will I be eligible for the new GI Bill?

A: Initially, no you will not. The only way Reserve and National Guard servicmemembers can qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill is if they deploy on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, such as Afghanistan. A typical one-year deployment would get you to the 60% tier. You would need at least a 90-day deployment to get you to the minimum of 40%. The way the war looks right now, you probably have a good chance to deploy in the next couple of years.

If you did not use any VEAP entitlement, then you would get 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement once you qualified. If you did use VEAP, then the number of months you had used would be deducted from the 36 months authorized.

If you never used your VEAP, you should look at getting the money out of it that you put in. You can request your money back by submitting VA Form 22-5281 from the eBenefits website.

If you sign up for a six-year hitch in the Reserves, you would qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves. While it doesn’t pay much, currently $345 per month for a full-time student, when you combine it with your Reserve pay and tuition assistance (if your Reserve branch offers it), it can add up to a tidy sum. That would be a GI Bill you could use until (or if) you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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