The post-Sept.11 GI Bill, Chapter 33 is a new education benefit program for people who served on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. It includes the most comprehensive education benefits package since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.
The new bill goes well beyond helping pay for tuition. Many veterans who served after Sept. 11, 2001, will receive full tuition and fees, a monthly housing stipend equivalent to the basic allowance for housing for an E-5 with dependents and a $1,000-per-year stipend for books and supplies.
The new bill also gives Reserve and Guard members who have been activated for more than 90 days since Sept. 11 access to the same GI Bill benefits. If a person has served a total of at least 90 consecutive days on active duty in the armed forces since Sept. 11, 2001, he or she is eligible. The amount of benefits received under this program is determined by the amount of accumulated post-Sept. 11 active duty the individual has served.
There are several ways to apply for GI Bill benefits. If you have not already done so, now is the time to apply for the fall semester. You can apply online at www.gibill.va.gov or call (888) 442-4551 to speak to a Veterans Administration education counselor to determine which of the many GI Bill programs will work best for your situation.
You may also receive an application form at the school or training establishment you wish to attend. The certifying official at the school, usually in the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office, should have the forms available, can assist you in filling them out and will submit them to the VA for you.
You can also visit your local county veterans service officer for information and assistance in completing your application for education benefits.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.