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  • Posted February 14, 2018

Forever GI Bill

Fellow veterans – there have been a LOT of changes lately, offering new, and expanding the reach of old, benefits. Below is a highlight reel of the Forever GI Bill (but don’t let this be the extent of your own research); subsequent posts will expand on other changes. This is a long post (21 bullets), please at least skim to determine if any apply to you. Unless otherwise specified, these changes will take effect 1 August 2018.

Forever GI Bill (aka Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act)

  1. Reserve Duty counts towards Post-9/11 Eligibility – Reservist authorized (ordered to AD) medical care, disability evaluation or health care study on or after 11 Sept 2001 counts as Active Duty towards eligibility.
  2. Purple Heart Recipients – anyone who was awarded a Purple Heart on or after 11 Sept 2001 is eligible for 100% benefit for 36 months.
  3. Yellow Ribbon Extension – Recipients of the Fry Scholarship and Purple Heart will be covered under the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  4. Yellow Ribbon Extension to AD Service Members – AD Servicemembers may use the Yellow Ribbon Program effective 1 August 2022.
  5. Consolidation of Benefit Levels – see chart, effective 1 August 2020.
  6. Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) Eligibility – Reservists who established eligibility under REAP prior to 25 November 2015, and lost it due to the sunset provision, may elect to have that service credited towards the Post-9/11 program.
  7. Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) – Will be calculated based on zip code of campus where student is attending the majority of classes, rather than location of the institute the student is enrolled.
  8. Changes to Licensing & Certification Charges – Entitlement charges will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test.
  9. Assistance for Students Affected by School Closures and Certain Disapprovals – VA is now authorized to restore benefits & provide relief. There is a LOT to this, read here.
  10. Transfer of Benefits Changes – Can now transfer entitlement if the original dependent dies prior to using the entitlement. Dependents can transfer entitlement to other dependents if Servicemember/Veteran dies. Applies to deaths on/after 1 August 2009.
  11. More benefits for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs – Another benefit with a LOT to it, read here.
  12. 15-Year Elimination – Time limitation is removed for individuals whose last discharge or release from AD is on/after 1 January 2013. Also applies to children of deceased Servicemembers entitled on/after 1 January 2013 and all Fry spouses.
  13. Reserve Components MHA – VA will prorate MHA for Reservists.
  14. Pilot Programs for Technology Courses – I haven’t seen much detail, just a heads up it’s coming.
  15. Work Study Expansion – Expiration date (30 June 2022) has been removed for certain qualifying work-study activities in which an individual may be paid additional educational assistance allowance.
  16. Changes to Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational AssistanceDecreased entitlement from 45 months to 36 months. Also increases amount of educational assistance payable under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program.
  17. Technical Schools and non-Institutions of Higher Learning – Must be accredited; expanded to include area career and technical education schools.
  18. Priority Enrollment – VA improving outreach and transparency about which institutions administer a priority enrollment system.
  19. Informing Schools about Beneficiary Entitlement – VA must make available to educational institutions information about the amount of educational assistance to which a beneficiary is entitled under chapter 30, 32, 33, or 35.
  20. Reserve Component Benefits – Guard and Reserve members with service in the Armed Forces occurring on/after 30 June 2008 may be able to receive Post-9/11 benefits.
  21. GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance – Individuals who first use Post-9/11 on/after 1 January 2018 will receive monthly housing allowance based on DoD’s reduced basic housing allowance (BAH). Those that began using benefits prior to January 1, 2018 will continue to receive a higher monthly housing rate based in the non-adjusted BAH rate

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