You've earned the right to a higher education through your service in the U.S. Armed Forces. But how do you use your GI Bill benefits? Which version is right for you? The Legion can help answer questions about state and/or federal education benefits, who can use them, and how long.
Included in the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) for unemployed veterans, to be rolled out by VA and the Department of Labor on July 1. VRAP will provide retraining for the veterans hardest hit by the struggling economy.
VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans. To qualify, a veteran must be at least 35 but no older than 60; be unemployed, with special consideration given to those unemployed for more than 26 weeks; have an other than dishonorable discharge; be ineligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g., the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance); not be in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability; and not be enrolled in a federal or state job-training program.
The program is limited to 45,000 participants during fiscal 2012, and to 54,000 participants from Oct. 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). Applications will be submitted through DoL, and benefits paid by VA. DoL will provide employment assistance to every veteran who completes the program.
Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an associate degree, non-college degree or certification, and train the veteran for a high-demand occupation.