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Applying for Your GI Bill Benefits

Are you one of the many veterans returning to school this year? If so, you’ll be preparing to apply for your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits soon. The Department of Veteran Affairs has provided the basics you’ll need to know before applying:

Am I Eligible?

Before applying, you’ll want to make sure that you are eligible. You can apply for GI Bill benefits if you meet at least one of the following:

You served at least 90 days on active duty (all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001.
You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service.
You served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability.
You’re a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member.

Your eligibility amount will depend on your service time and your status as a veteran or relative of a veteran. You may be able to get a maximum of 48 months of VA education benefits—not including Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits. However, many applicants are eligible for only 36 months.

Documents Needed

To make things easier on yourself, you’ll want to ensure you have all the proper documentation before diving into the application. While the specific documentation you’re going to need will vary on a person-by-person basis, almost all applicants will need the following:

Social Security number
Bank account direct deposit information
Education and military history
Information about the school or training facility you want to attend or are attending

More information on specific needed documentation can be found online or in person at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

How Do I Apply?

Applications can be completed online after answering a short questionnaire to help gauge the best educational plan for your situation. You can also receive an application by mail to be sent back to your local VA regional claims office. Physical applications can be requested when you call 888-442-4551.

If you need help with your application, you can visit your VA regional office in person, where a VA employee can help you.

What Happens Next?

Once you submit your application, you cannot go back and make changes. It’s important to carefully review your application answers before you submit the final document.

The VA will take approximately 30 days to review and make a decision on your application. A decision letter will most likely be sent to your home, but you may be able to download it if you apply for your benefits online. If your application is approved, you’ll need to show the letter to the VA certifying official at your school to start using education benefits.

Do I Qualify for Other Benefits?

You may be eligible to apply for other forms of aid. If your school is participating in the Yellow Ribbon program and the GI Bill doesn’t cover all of your expenses, you may be able to receive that program’s funding. You may also be eligible for programs like the Montogomery GI Bill or VR&E benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs also provides educational and training resources to help you through your academic journey.

Explore more articles for the veteran community here.

The post Applying for Your GI Bill Benefits appeared first on U.S. Veterans.

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