The GI Bill Application Process

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4 Easy Steps to getting your benefits.

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!

Step One

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. You can use the VA's School Comparison Tool to find schools, employers, and testing organizations where you can use the GI Bill.

Step Two

Apply online using the VA's VETS.GOV website

  • If you are on Active Duty you may need to get approval from your Education Service Officer or chain-of-command before applying for the GI Bill. Note: 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. 
  • If you are a Veteran you may need to include a copy of your DD 214 Discharge Paperwork.
  • If you are a member of the Selective Reserve you may need to include a copy of DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility which was given to you by your unit when you became eligible for the MGIB-SR.

Step Three

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 submitting your application online.

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.

Step Four

Attend classes, start learning and enjoying your GI Bill benefits.

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