Reserve Education Assistance Program
Reserves and National Guard personnel may qualify for educational benefits.
It is easy to forget that the continuing war effort, from the time of the Persian Gulf War to the current Global War on Terror, would not be possible without the support of the Reserves of the military branches and National Guard of the 50 states.
Ample excitement has been generated by the Post 9-11 GI Bill for active-duty military veterans, with its benefits including subsistence payments, housing allowance, tuition payments, books, and suppliers, and transferability to dependents. The Reserves and the National Guard have seen innumerable units activated and sent into harm’s way to support the effort of the active-duty military. What assistance may members of the Guard and Reserves expect upon discharge or deactivation from their activated status?
The answer, in part, is that there are two reserve GI Bills: Chapter 1606 for regular drilling reservists and Chapter 1607 for reservists who have had extended mobilizations after September 11, 2011. Eligibility differs for each program.
The basic eligibility requirements are that the reservist must:
- Be an active drilling reservist
- Have completed IADT
- Have good standing in his/her unit
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Remain in a drilling status
- Have at least a six-year obligation
For Chapter 1607, you need to meet all the above qualifications plus you must have performed full-time active-duty service for at least 90 consecutive days after 9-11-2001.
This article deals specifically with Chapter 1607, Title 10, USC. REAP (Chapter 1607) is a Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs (DOD/VA) education benefit program. The program is designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve. This includes components called or ordered to active duty, in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation), as described by the President or Congress.
Note: “Contingency Operations” as defined in Title 10 U.S. Code means, “Military operations that are designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the armed forces are/or may become involved in military actions, operations or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against opposing military force or results in the call or order to, or retention on active duty of members of the uniformed services.”
National Guard members are also eligible if their active duty is under Section 502(f), Title 32 USC, and they serve for 90 consecutive days when authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for a national emergency, and are supported by federal funds. Individuals are eligible as soon as they reach the 90-day point whether or not they are currently on active duty. DOD will fully identify contingency operations that qualify for benefits under chapter 1607. Disabled members whose illness or disease is incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, and are released before completing 90 consecutive days, are also eligible.
The payment amount for REAP is determined by the number of days you were activated. Each year in October, REAP payment rates increase to meet the growing cost of education. This year, eligible members of the Guard and Reserve who receive REAP benefits say their benefits increased to $1,178.40 per month for those enrolled full time in FY 2012. Payment amounts are set based on length of time activated (see chart).
Rates paid for apprenticeship and on-the-job training programsare less, and they reflect the 85%, 65%, and 45% payment rates for apprenticeship, as described in GI Bill Basics. Eligible individuals cannot receive assistance under more than one VA education program at a time. Therefore, they must make an “irrevocable election,” choosing which program they want their military service to count toward.
If, however, apprentices are eligible for the “kicker program,” they can still receive kicker payments while receiving chapter 1607 benefits. Those eligible for 1607 will receive 36 months of full-time entitlement at their given rate. A 1607 participant may not use more than 48 months of entitlement under any combination of VA educational programs.
How to Apply
You can file an application online or by mailing VAF 22-1990. Applicants should annotate “Chapter 1607” on the application form.
If you have questions about REAP or any veterans issue, contact your PVA national service officer (NSO).
To find the office nearest you, consult the PVA National Service Office Roster, p. 49, or visit pva.org.
Contact: PVA Veterans Benefits Department, 800-424-8200 / pva.org.
Reserve Education Assistance Program
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