If you haven't used your GI Bill benefits yet, you may be put off by the application process. Fear not - if you follow the 4 easy steps, you'll find that the process is simple and painless.
The application process for receiving your monthly GI Bill benefits is much simpler than you may think. Depending on the school you are applying to, the process could take you 4 steps, or less!
Find and apply to a college or university that is approved for VA training or education. If you are not clear on this point, VA will inform you and the school or company about the requirements.
Note: Most regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities have programs that are approved by the VA.
Complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. Your school's registrar's office usually has copies of the form on hand.
Note: Speak to a counselor in your Education Services Office or Navy College representative to determine if you should use the GI Bill. It is seldom a good idea to use the GI Bill while active duty, and your ESO can help you find the best funding resources for your situation.
In addition you may be eligible to participate in the GI Bill Buy-up program, if so you should consider paying into that program before you start using your GI Bill. It could be worth up to an extra $5,400 in benefits.
In most cases the school will send your application along with their paperwork to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State or area where you will train. This will expedite the process. However if you have not found a school yet, you can still apply for your VA Eligibility Determination by mailing your completed VA Form 22-1990 to your VA Regional Office.
Within 4-8 (sometimes longer) weeks you should receive a declaration of eligibility and a letter explaining your VA GI Bill benefits. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon to get a letter from the VA requesting more information. You will have to answer VAs requests to be determined eligible and complete the process.
Once you receive your benefit payments through Direct Deposit you will have to complete the VA's Web Automated Verification of Eligibility (WAVE) each month to continue to receive your monthly benefits payments.
The WAVE is a simple process that requires you to either log-on to the VA WAVE website or call their toll-free number at 1-888-GIBILL-1. It only takes a couple of minutes, but you will not get your monthly payment until you do.
These four simple steps will lead to over $40,000 in education benefits -- the ones you paid for! It's well worth the effort, so don't wait until it is too late, get started today!
If you haven't found a school yet, then the best way to get started is Military.com's "School Finder". It will help you get information from fully accredited colleges and universities that have VA-approved programs and experience with helping servicemembers and veterans earn their degrees.