Improved GI Bill

Reprinted from PN March 2011

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Obama.

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On January 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (S. 3447). This bill was introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka, chairman, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. 

The law enhances current Chapter 33 educational benefits under Title 38:

- Vocational Rehabilitation Program Stipend. Most significantly, a disabled veteran receiving the housing stipend under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31), which is usually significantly less than the Post-9/11 GI Bill, can now opt for the more generous amount under the Post-9/11 GI Bill equal to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate of an E-5 with dependents for their local zip code. This will provide hundreds of dollars more per month for tens of thousands of eligible beneficiaries.

- Vocational School Training and Apprenticeships Now Covered. The Post-9/11 GI Bill can now be used at many more vocational schools, apprenticeships, and on-the-job-training programs. This means servicemembers can use it to enter into almost any field they choose.

- Housing Allowance for Online Learners. A housing allowance is now available for exclusively online learners. While recuperating and not attending class in person on a campus, servicemembers can start their education online and receive the housing support allowance needed.

- Book Allowance for Active Duty. Servicemembers still on active duty and wanting to start an education program can now receive the $1,000 per year book stipend previously not available for active-duty personnel.

- Prep Courses and Test Fees Now Covered. If a servicemember has not yet applied for schools and wants to improve his/her SAT/ACT scores, the Post-9/11 GI Bill can fund prep courses and test fees.

- Time for Eligibility During Recovery and for Caretakers. The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30), which has a ten-year expiration date, has been extended for wounded, injured, and ill veterans and their caretakers for the length of their recovery time, which means that time spent in the hospital does not decrease benefit availability. This same extension also applies to children who are caretakers and have had Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to them, or recipients of Chapter 35 Survivor’s Benefits. Normally, they must use their benefits before their 26th birthday, but this can be extended for those providing care to wounded, injured, and ill veterans.


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