By Leslie C. Rogall
The VA administers several education programs for veterans and their dependents, aside from its vocational rehabilitation programs. Veterans separating from active duty have ten years from their release date from active duty to use their educational benefits. Reservists generally have ten years to use the programs from their last date in the Selected Reserve. Veterans can extend these time limits in some circumstances, such as when service-connected disability precludes the use of educational benefits.
In limited circumstances, servicemembers are permitted to transfer their education benefits to one or more dependents. Such servicemembers must work in critical career specialties and will incur additional service obligations in exchange for the ability to transfer these benefits.
The Montgomery GI Bill is available to veterans who entered active duty after June 30, 1985, and contributed $100 per month for 12 months. Unlike other VA-administered programs, veterans must have received an “honorable” discharge to receive this educational benefit; discharge characterizations such as “general” and “under honorable conditions” render a veteran ineligible for this program. Individuals with service obligations greater than two years currently receive $985 per month for full-time studies and $492.50 per month for half-time studies. This program is not available to veterans commissioned through the service academies, and there are limitations for veterans commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
The Veterans Educational Assistance Program is available for veterans who entered active duty after December 31, 1976, but before July 1, 1985. Veterans who participated in this program made contributions up to $2,700 while in service. The VA will match these contributions on a $2 to $1 basis. Unused contributions are refunded to the veteran. The veteran must have received a discharge for conditions other than dishonorable.
The Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program is offered to the spouses and children between ages 18 and 26 of totally and permanently disabled, deceased, or missing veterans. Spouses have time limitations in which to use their benefits. Beneficiaries may receive up to $788 per month in educational benefits.
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