GI Bill Q&A

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The GI Bill, you have questions - we have answers.

Q: Is the GI Bill considered Financial Aid?

A: Not in the traditional sense. In most cases, the school's financial aid department does not consider the GI Bill financial aid.

This means that you are eligible for student loans, scholarships, and Pell Grants along with the GI Bill. But it is important to note that your GI Bill income can reduce the amount of student financial aid you are eligible to receive, also if you receive a scholarship your Post-9/11 GI Bill will not pay as much to the school, however your housing allowance will not be affected.

For help in locating scholarships, see the Scholarship Finder.

Q: How long do I have to use my benefits?

A: If you left the service after Jan. 1, 2013 there is no time limit on using your GI Bill.

If you are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and got out before that date you have 15 years from your discharge to use all your GI Bill benefits.

If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, you have 10 years from your date of discharge.

If you don't use your GI Bill before these ending dates you lose it.

However, if you join the service again the expiration date will change.

Example: Seaman Smith left the active duty and joined the Navy Reserve. Three years later she returned to active duty with twelve years remaining on the Post-9/11 GI Bill clock. When she leaves the service again the 15 year period of eligibility begins again. She now has a fresh 15 years left to use ALL of her benefits or she will lose her remaining balance, which then returns to Uncle Sam.

Q: Can I stop and start using the GI Bill at will?

A: YES! You can use the GI Bill for any period of time, take time off and re-apply to use it again at a later date.

Q: What does a "month" of benefits mean?

A: Example For veterans:

Every time you attend one full month of classes as a full-time student you are charged one month of benefits. For example if you are attending classes as a half-time student you will have to attend two full months to be charged one month of benefits. Likewise, if you are attending classes from the 1st through the 15th of the month you will only be charged 1/2 month of entitlement.

It is important to remember that your monetary benefit will be proportionally affected by your attendance as well. If you are attending classes as a half-time student under the Post-9/11 GI Bill you will only receive 1/2 the normal Monthly Housing Allowance, if you are receiving the Montgomery GI Bill you will receive 1/2 of the maximum monthly benefit.

However for active duty: If you are on active duty and you go to school full-time for four months, but your tuition is only $1,000, you will still be charged for four months of your GI Bill 36 month entitlement.

Note: It only "pays" to use your GI Bill on active duty if your tuition costs are high or you use it as Top-up.

Q: How is Top-up charged against my GI Bill Benefit?

A: If you are receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill your entitlement is charged based on the training time you are enrolled in. If you are going to classes at 1/2 time attendance you will be charged 1/2 month of GI Bill entitlement no matter how much money you receive in GI Bill benefits.

If you are receiving the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty your entitlement is charged based on the amount of money you receive. For example, if the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty full time rate is $2,050 a month, you will be charged one month of entitlement for each $2,050 you recieve, if you are paid $1,025.00 you will be charged 1/2 month of entitlement, and so on.

Q: How often will I receive payments?

A: In most cases you will receive your benefits on a monthly basis. The Post-9/11 GI Bill will issue your Monthly Housing Allowance automatically, the Montgomery GI Bill will not be paid until you verify to the VA that you are actually attending school. This can be done online or by telephone. Within five days you will receive a direct deposit of your monthly benefits.

Your payments will be issued after the month is completed, for instance you will recieve your March payment in April.

Q: Will I have to pay taxes on my GI Bill benefits?

A: NO! Your GI Bill benefits are NOT taxable!

Q: What are the current "payment rates?"

A: The rates increase every year. See the current GI Bill payment rate tables to view the details and this year's payment rate.

Q: Can I be eligible for more than one benefit?

A: You may be eligible for more than one VA education benefit. If you are, you must elect which benefit to receive. You can't receive payment for more than one benefit at a time.

The  VA Education Benefits include:

Q: How do I get started?

A: You can apply for the GI Bill online at the VA's website.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Sign up for a free membership to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

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