Through the GI Bill, the United States government offers veterans education benefits in recognition of their service to the nation and to help the transition to civilian life.
The GI Bill will fund your education, including undergraduate, graduate, and vocational training. Living expenses and books can also be covered. These GI Bill education benefits can also be transferred to the service member’s children or spouse.
However, these education benefits can be difficult to understand and use. Here is a quick guide to accessing your entitlements.
How do I Apply for my Post 9/11-GI Bill Benefits?
- First, you must determine whether you are eligible for benefits. If you’ve served on active duty for at least 90 days, you may be eligible for benefits. You may also qualify through the VA’s other programs, such as the Montgomery GI Bill. The VA’s website has a full list of eligibility requirements that explains each situation.
- Gather documents and information, including social security number, bank account information, education and military history, and basic information on where you wish to attend.
- You can apply online at the VA’s website with your VA account. If you don’t have an online VA account, you can create one with ID.me’s signup process. Be ready to upload official documents to the website. Once you’ve successfully submitted your claim, the VA will notify you. You can also apply by mail, at a VA regional office, or with a trained professional.
- It takes an average of 30 days to approve claims. If you are approved, the VA will mail you a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
- You can take the COE to your school’s certifying official, typically located in the Financial Aid office.
- Once you are approved, you can check your status and the amount of benefits you have received using your ID.me or other VA account login.
- If you haven’t used your VA education benefits, you can transfer them to a dependent or spouse as long as you are eligible (this status requires serving at least six years and agreeing to add four years to your service). You can also apply to transfer your benefits through the VA.gov website.
If you are unsure of how much you will receive in benefits, the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool is a helpful way to calculate what you are entitled to.